Alaskans Who Count on Tourism Dollars
Won't Get Them if Wolves Die

Letters to the Editor / Anchorage Daily News / March 19, 2004

I am writing as a concerned nonresident who is very dismayed by reports of Alaska's wolf management policy. It now appears to be the policy of the state to significantly reduce the number of natural predators through aerial hunting and increased taking quota. For what it's worth, I find such policies unconscionable.

The historical record of harsh treatment of wolves in the United States is a sad legacy. Many Americans are tired of their natural resources being controlled, hijacked or otherwise abused for the benefit of narrow interests -- in this case, for those who prefer Alaska's forests be filled with artificially high numbers of moose and elk. The experience gained from the return of wolves to Yellowstone Park, for example, should have taught us that apex predators like wolves have sustaining effects on many other species, including plants and other mammal species not directly consumed by wolves.

Many Americans are proud to know that in at least one state these animals run free in significant numbers. Alaskans seem to agree: these policies have been rejected by voting majorities not once, but twice. Perhaps the current governor should consider the virtues of democracy. Those counting on increased tourist revenues from hunting should also be aware that these cruel policies will do little to attract me or like-minded citizens to spend tourist dollars in Alaska.

-- Nicholas Nicastro / Ithaca, N.Y.


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