Printer Friendly

Alaska delays decision on aerial wolf killing.

In January Alaska's Board of Game yielded to public pressure and delayed any action on a plan to reduce the number of wolves in the state. NPCA and other environmental groups had called for a tourism boycott of Alaska to protest its wolf management policies.

In November Alaska announced plans to reduce the number of wolves to increase populations of caribou and moose, their natural prey. The policy was to be carried out by state-sponsored aerial and land-and-shoot hunts. Aerial hunting is conducted directly from aircraft, while land-and-shoot requires landing before firing.

Those in favor of the plan argue that an increase in moose and caribou would benefit the state's sport and subsistence hunters. They also say it would provide a wildlife spectacle comparable to no other in the world. However, some biologists fear these wolf kills would upset the balance of nature, allowing moose and caribou to increase too fast, which could cause starvation or disease.

In protest, NPCA canceled plans to hold its 1993 fall board meeting in Anchorage, but lifted the tourism boycott after the Board of Game suspended the wolf kill for 1993. The 1994 board meeting will be held in Anchorage provided the policy is not pursued.

Earlier in January, native leaders, environmentalists, hunters, the Department of Fish and Game, and tourism businesses convened at a wolf summit in Fairbanks called by Gov. Walter Hickel (I). NPCA trustee Lowell Thomas, Jr., testified at the summit and urged that the wolf reduction plans be called off. Thomas criticized land-and-shoot killing in particular, calling it "a method which, to be honest, should be called |chase, land, and shoot'--chase the animals to exhaustion in deep snow, then jump out for the kill."

Although the Board of Game delayed the hunts, it dissolved previous ten-mile buffer zones provided to protect the wolves of Denali National Park and Preserve. The proposed wolf reduction areas are adjacent to Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve, and Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve. Because wolves often range beyond park boundaries, the packs that inhabit these parks would not necessarily be protected.

If the Department of Fish and Game and the Board of Game cannot come to an agreement on wolf management, Hickel will make the final decision. The board meets again this summer.
COPYRIGHT 1993 National Parks Conservation Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:includes related material
Author:McCarty, Laura P.
Publication:National Parks
Date:Mar 1, 1993
Previous Article:Parks threatened by right-of-way claims.
Next Article:Probe finds evidence NPS was manipulated.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2017 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters