First Casualties of the Aerial War on Alaska's Wolves Shrouded in Secrecy

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance / January 30, 2004

- For Immediate Release -

Governor Murkowski has launched an unpopular aerial war on Alaska's wolves.  The first report of causalities was given to the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Anchorage on Monday, the 26th, but no public announcement was made.  By Friday word had leaked out on the streets-14 wolves gunned down near Glenallen, Alaska.  Hundreds more are expected to be killed or wounded this winter over an area the size Massachusetts.  Still no press release from the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.   No member of the press is invited to witness a wolf killing.  None of the gunners are required to produce any evidence of the wolves they have killed until 30 days after the April 30th close of season.  Why the secrecy?

Alaskans and the nation as a whole are strongly opposed to aerial killing of wolves, and if they were to witness it there would be an outrage.  Using the initiative process in 1996 Alaskan voters banned the use of aircraft by the public as a method of shooting wolves.  When anti-predator opponents in the state legislature put aerial killing of wolves back on the books in 2000 voters again told the state this method of killing was unacceptable.  Voters launched a special referendum, and within 90 days banned it once more.

Governor Murkowski isn't listening to the voters.  In June of this year he approved legislation effectively ignoring the "no" vote twice.  He signed into law Senate Bill 155 which authorized special permitted posses to shoot wolves from the air-a practice not seen in the state for over 30 years.   The bill also contained language that allowed aerial wolf killing without having to prove that wolves were causing a decline in local prey populations.  It further abolished the Fish and Game Commissioner's authority to provide scientific findings as to the need for predator control and gave total authority for deciding where to launch aerial assaults to the Board of Game.  Governor Murkowski stacked the Board of Game with anti-predator zealots.  They recently picked out two areas totaling 10,000 square miles for aerial wolf control, and intend to consider a third area of approximately the same size in the next few weeks.

"What do the voters have to do to get this Governor to listen", said Paul Joslin, Wildlife Director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.  "Given all the other things he has done, I am not surprised that some people are now asking for his recall", he went on to say.

Contact:  Paul Joslin, PhD., Wildlife Director
907-277-9816    Phone
907-250-5544    Cell
 907-277-7423    Fax ,


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