Learn the True Facts of Wolf Control
COMPASS: Points of view from the community
Kevin Duffy / Anchorage Daily News / March 20, 2004
Confusion and misinformation surrounding Alaska's two current predator control
programs for wolves is being distributed throughout many forums both inside
and outside of Alaska. Please allow me to set the record straight and provide
the facts about wolf management in Alaska.
* Alaska supports a healthy statewide population of 7,700 to 11,200 wolves. Unlike
any other state, Alaska retains a natural array of large predators.
* In Alaska, wolves are managed on a sustained yield basis across 95 percent
of the state and are fully protected from hunting and trapping in many large
areas such as national parks.
* The predator control programs are currently taking place only on about 3 percent
of the state's land area, not over large tracts of land.
* Many people living in Alaska, especially in rural Alaska, are dependent on
moose for food. For instance, in McGrath, hamburger costs more than $5 per pound
at the local store, and the closest supermarket is 220 air miles away. The moose
population has fallen so low that the harvest level is about half of what it
once was, leaving families in great need.
* Hunters from outside the state have been banned from these two areas in order
to provide the very limited moose harvest still possible to Alaskans for food.
Moose hunting seasons in the areas where wolf control is occurring are either
closed or limited to subsistence use only.
* Moose populations in these two areas have been reduced to very low levels and,
without predator control, are unlikely to increase to where they can support
the demand for meat.
* The control program does not seek to "eliminate wolves"; the goal is to reduce
wolf predation in certain areas in order to allow moose populations to grow and
stabilize at a higher level -- supporting both human harvest and a combination
of wolves, bears and other predators.
Predator control programs should not be thought of as or confused with fair chase
sport hunting opportunities. These programs are designed to humanely and effectively
reduce wolf populations as quickly as possible. They are not conducted routinely
and take place only in areas where improved moose harvest is a high priority.
Under these programs, the state strictly limits the number of permits it issues
to qualified applicants to act as agents of the state. These programs occur for
a limited time and are closely and continually monitored.
It is a fact that in Alaska there is a large, healthy population of wolves distributed
across our state. The reason we have such high numbers of wolves and other predators
is because our habitats and ecosystems are carefully managed and our wildlife
management programs ensure the long-term viability of all wildlife species, including
Don't be misled by those who are intolerant of differing wildlife uses and values,
and who continue to resort to allegation, out-of-context comments and untruths
to try to win others to their side.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Alaska Board of Game apply different
management programs in different areas to provide for a variety of human interests
and uses of our wildlife resources. We will continue to manage our wildlife responsibly
in order to provide for a broad range of values. For those interested in understanding
the full and true story, I invite you to contact the Alaska Department of Fish
Kevin Duffy is commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
to Current Events 0304]
Song of Alaska, P.O. Box 671670, Chugiak, Alaska 99567-1670
Wolf Song of Alaska.
The Wolf Song of Alaska
Logo, and Web Site Text is copyrighted, registered,
protected, and cannot be used without permission.
Web design and artwork donated by She-Wolf Works and Alaskan artist Maria Talasz
All rights reserved