It's Ill-Advised to Manage Wolves and Bears as if They Were Vermin

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / February 15, 2004

Sen. Ralph Seekins has launched an all-out war against Alaska's predators. During the last legislative session he spearheaded SB 155, which overturned the people's vote on land-and-shoot hunting of wolves, legalized gunning wolves from the air, and abolished the fish and game commissioner's ability to decide if aerial wolf control is warranted. SB 155 also empowered the Board of Game to institute aerial killing even when moose and caribou numbers are determined by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to be sufficient to meet hunter needs.

On Feb. 6, Sen. Seekins introduced SB 297, targeting both brown and black bears on about 20 percent of state land year-round. If passed, hunters could shoot females with cubs or cubs on their own that are 1 year of age. They could take bears using airplanes, snowmachines, four-wheelers or any motor vehicle. They could train them to come to bait stations or attract them with electronic predator calls for easy killing. They could use electronic devices to coordinate hunts.

Wolves and bears help keep moose and caribou populations healthy. They have co-existed for thousands of years in a manner that has enabled over a million moose and caribou to live in harmony with their Alaska environment. To manage wolves and bears as if they were vermin is ill-advised.

-- Paul Joslin, Wildlife Director / Alaska Wildlife Alliance / Anchorage

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