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Consider another use for Alaska's wolves

Voices of the Peninsula

Posted: June 7, 2012 - 7:51am

The wolf pack came into clear view as I focused my binoculars. Several times over the previous years I'd seen this same pack, the Grant Creek Pack. They have been by far the most viewed wolves in Denali Park for almost a decade now.

This summer it's likely no pups will be born to this most viewed pack and pups are what keep them tied to this area of open country and viewable to anyone with binoculars and a little luck. Thousands of visitors from all over the world will now have little chance of seeing the animal many most want to see.

Why is this long sought thrill denied to so many who have come so far? Because the Alaska Board of Game believes the recreational trapping interests of three or four people outweigh the viewing interests of tens of thousands of park visitors who have spent considerable money for the chance to see a wild wolf.

The pack's breeding female was trapped recently by local trapper Coke Wallace. He killed a horse to bait wolves out of the park into what had been a protected buffer zone. Because the Grant Creek pack had for generations been conditioned to lose their fear of human scent, it was a minimal challenge to set up those deadly snares around the dead horse. Park authorities had asked to keep and even expand this buffer zone and over 500 buffer zone supporting letters were given the BOG with a large percentage from local businesses. Tourism and locals be damned, the zero diversity BOG would once again bow to the consumption oriented special interests and eliminate the buffer zone protection.

A recent article went into detail about how the loss of one wolf was meaningless from a biological perspective so why get excited about the loss of this one wolf. He is biologically correct and also totally misses the point. He, like the Board of Game, apparently consider wildlife viewing to be so useless as to not be worthy of consideration.

The Alaska State Constitution mandates that the BOG be appointed by the governor to represent the variety of interests Alaskans have in the management of our state's wildlife. Governor Parnell has consistently failed to fulfill this obligation and instead appoints only those recommended by the commercial special interest organizations that currently control Alaska's wildlife management. Recently Governor Parnell has yet again appointed a zero diversity BOG member. In just the recent past, two of Parnell's BOG appointments have been rejected by the legislature which must confirm his appointments. One was apparently because he was an over the top radical and the other allegedly had legal and honesty issues.

It's time for Alaskans to elect a governor who respects the state constitution and appoints BOG members who recognize the diverse regulatory requirements needed for responsible wildlife management. Alaskans need BOG members willing to look past the special interests of trophy hunting and trapping to the needs of our tourism industry and the integrity of our ecosystems. Maybe even notice that wolves are worth more than the value of a pelt and might even have value to people who don't want to kill them.

John Toppenberg has been director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance for about seven years. He lives in Sterling.

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william huard
14
Points
william huard 06/08/12 - 05:32 pm
1
4
wolves

It is so sad how the Alaskan Board of Game continues to support a few money grubbing trappers like Coke wallace and Al barrett. The loss of this Grant Creek wolf pack is a serious blow to Alaska, the wolves, and the tourism industry. Coke wallace offers trophy hunting to his out of state clients who have no issue with shooting a defenseless animal that is stuck in one of his traps......You would think a person who lives off the land and who makes a living off the diversity of Alaskan wildlife would not be so brutal and reckless in his treatment of wolves. In the mind of a trophy hunter animals are either vermin or seen as a commodity- a pelt. There are reports that a wolverine got to the poor wolf before Wallace did- so what did this wolf die for? What a waste

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 06/10/12 - 05:33 pm
4
0
All lies

Nobody spends thousands of dollars to come to Alaska just to see a stupid wolf. They're just big dogs. You can see them at every animal shelter back in the big city. Everyone has seen dogs, so seeing a wolf doesn't do much for them.

Visitors come to Alaska for the overall experience. They want to see the scenery, fish the waters, hike the trails, drive the roads, park their RV's at Fred Meyer, etc. In my 35 years in Alaska and dealing with thousands of tourists, I've never heard a single one say that they came all the way up here to see a wolf. Not one. They'll say they want to see wildlife. Sometimes they get specific to say they want to see eagles, moose, and maybe a bear (most never get to see a bear either). But wolves? No.

Fact is, that at least 3 wolves of that pack died. Two of those 3 died of natural causes. One was trapped. The trapped wolf went to good use. The ones that died of natural causes rot away and become moss-food. It happens all the time. The loss of those wolves will change nothing in Denali. Absolutely nothing. The wolves, unlike those who waste their lives staring at them through binoculars, have a simple order to things and quickly adapt to changes. Guaranteed that within 24 hours of the loss of any of those wolves, the rest of the pack has "moved on" and won't spend a moment mourning the loss, but actually see such losses as a hole in the corporate management where they can try to fight their way into a new job.

william huard
14
Points
william huard 06/11/12 - 03:31 am
1
2
wolves

Gee Joat- Your comment shows the disconnect you "consumptive users in Alaska" have toward wildlife. In the "barren terrain of hunter psychology" we wouldn't expect you to understand. You are money grubbers in Alaska who would sell your grandmother to make a buck. Gee- I wonder if SLOB trapper Wallace will put out a family member when they die so he can harvest more wildlife. The majority of people in this country do not share your empty view of how natural resources should be treated. By the way- -what's a joat? Maybe medication can help

Raoulduke
3055
Points
Raoulduke 06/11/12 - 04:01 am
0
3
revenue loss

The disappointment of the tourist,Which is a very BIG money maker in this state not being able to view as much wildlife as possible while vacationing-mostly 2 weeks at most.Sure! Alaskans get tired of the tourist influx,but they do bring in to the states coffers.A great deal more monies than Alaskan's themselves.When forms of wildlife start to diminish.Do not think for a minute. That word will not spread through the tourist community.Eventually forcing the tourist to spend their vacations elsewhere.Meaning a great decrease in the states coffers.They would probably go to Russia,Wyoming,or even Montana for such viewing.Besides they would be saving money doing so.Yes! I believe .Trappers are a viable form of employment,but the BOG should not base the well fare of this state on the monetary welfare of a few trappers.

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 06/11/12 - 06:25 am
2
0
Get some facts folks

What a narrow-minded view of the world ya'll have. Talk about disconnected.

Wildlife populations in Alaska are growing. Fact.

Where wolf population management has been used in Alaska for the last 40 years, there are not only more moose and caribou, but the wolf population in such areas is also thriving. Fact.

Where wolf populations are not managed, nature runs a boom and bust course with massive fluctuations in populations of both predator and prey.

I see it's pointless to try and have a logical and scientific debate here when folks start out with Ad Hominem attacks on the trapper who did nothing wrong. Someone who would call a law-abiding citizen a "slob who would use a family member's body to bait his traps" is a person who is in serious need of psychological counseling. Seek help.

william huard
14
Points
william huard 06/11/12 - 07:08 am
0
2
Slob OUTFITTER

Geez- You must be the only people on the planet to defend Coke Wallace who has been known to leave animals in traps for weeks at a time, and who offers trophy hunts to clients who could care less how they get their trophy- even if it's shooting a defenseless wolf or other animal that is stuck in a trap. Who needs counseling? You people are disgusting, and you have no sense of decency. To you - animals are a commodity. YOU ARE SLOBS

william huard
14
Points
william huard 06/11/12 - 07:09 am
0
3
One thing is for sure- you'll

One thing is for sure- you'll never have an anuerism or a stroke- because that would require blood in your veins

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 06/11/12 - 03:36 pm
3
0
Talk about aneurisms...

Bill, before going into a full blown conniption, I have to tell you that I frankly do not have a clue as to who this "Coke Wallace" fella is. And I really don't care. I've scanned the hunting and trapping regulations and I didn't see his name mentioned anywhere. Trapping is a general public activity that is not reserved for just one guy.

Your comment about "blood in veins" is silly. It is "you people" who are disgusting in the way that you use unfounded emotional responses to try and paint all of us normal people as "evil". As one who understands the cycle of life and actually cares about ALL parts of our planet and not just one tiny piece (like wolves), I can see the bigger picture. If you were to see the absolutely cruel methods that wolves use to murder countless moose, caribou, bison and other animals (basically by ripping open their bellies and letting the entrails fall out... it's a slow death that was a popular means of torture by the English in Medieval times), you really wouldn't have that much theatrical pity when a wolf dies. Wolves eat a lot and given half a chance, they would kill the big game in an area to extinction and then move on to the next place to kill some more. Wolves have no sense of game management or higher reasoning. That is where Man comes in.

A few facts about trapping... after the first day, it doesn't matter how long the dead body is left in the trap. Pretty much all legitimate trappers will not leave a trap unchecked for more than a couple days. Your claim that animals are left in traps for weeks is absurd. If they were, there wouldn't be an animal left in the trap as the birds and smaller toothy scavengers would make short work of it.

I'm curious how you managed to interview each of the clients that this guide took out hunting to find out that they "could care less how they get their trophy". I'll put a dollar on the table that you haven't spoken to a single one of this feller's clients and you're simply and outright lying. You see, I actually know a lot of folks who go on far-away hunting trips. None of them are interested in shooting a "defenseless critter in a trap". The truth is, the overwhelming majority hunt for the challenge of the wilderness and they care very much about following the law, hunting ethics, and fair chase.

It's illegal for the client of a guide to have the client shoot animals in traps. If the guide is doing that, get proof and call the AK Troopers Wildlife division. Since that's probably not happening, and you are again just making stuff up, we're probably talking about trappers shooting their catch in the traps to put them down. So, would you rather that they go back to clubbing the animals to death with a stick? Shooting the animal after caught in the trap is one of the most humane ways to quickly dispatch the animal.

So, let's consider some other uses for Alaska's wolves....
Coats
Hats
Gloves
Boots
Art Crafts
Fishing Flies
Tanned Leather

william huard
14
Points
william huard 06/11/12 - 03:51 pm
0
3
humane?

Is this where you tell me how "humane" a steel jawed leghold or a conibear trap is? Spare me. There are hundreds of videos which show otherwise. Trappers are SLOBS and they are dinosaurs. This is 2012, not 1913. Time to come into the 21st century with the rest of us. Coke Wallace enjoys leaving wolves in traps for weeks at a time. He enjoys it. He is a fuc&^ing sadist POS. He offers his clients opportunities to hunt animals on his traplines. A true money grubber. Your state has no mandatory trap check policy. There are states that take into consideration the suffering of animals- unfortunately your state does not. I feel sorry for you but I feel more sorry for the animals whose only mistake is being born in the wrong state. Shame on Alaska. I LMAO when you people tell people like me that we are too emotional...as if you had any emotion or decency

william huard
14
Points
william huard 06/11/12 - 04:00 pm
0
3
One more thing. Why do you

One more thing. Why do you "wildlife experts"(all laugh here) place human morality judgements on how a wild wolf kills? Wolves survive on instinct- they are wired to kill their prey much in the same way other predators kill. Do you think they try to inflict maximum suffering on their victims? Like humans do. FYI- I spend all my time outdoors with wildlife- so spare me the "i don't know what the hell i am talking about line. You think your proximity to the wilderness makes you experts. You also think it gives you control over it. Typical human behavior- based in an overinflated sense of ego and importance. The wolf is not your adversary- you are his

JOAT
490
Points
JOAT 06/12/12 - 06:39 am
3
0
Too late, conniption in progress

Wow, Billy. You sure do presume to know a lot about me. You haven't got a clue. Just to ease your mind before you have a stroke... I am no friend of trapping. I never have and never will participate in trapping outside of a survival situation. As a hunter and true outdoorsman, I hold true to the proud heritage of hunting ethics. One sure shot and quick, clean kills. Walk away if that's not guaranteed. Take only what you need to eat. Waste nothing that can be used.

However, trapping is a legal activity and as long as our society determines that it is a legal activity it should continue within the bounds of the trapping regulations. If someone is stepping outside those bounds, they should be punished within the law. This is how our civilized society works. You should join us.

Now that I see you are not even an Alaskan, I put even less consideration into your vile, hate-filled, profanity-laced ramblings. It is quite clear which of us is more in tune with nature.

So, the next time you talk to your friend "Coke", why don't you tell him your concerns about the way he's running his affairs? You do know him personally, right? I mean, the way you talk about his feelings, you must know the guy personally. If you don't, then you must be guilty of breaking another one of our society's little rules... slander. Oh, and let me state this again, cuz you missed it the first time... if your friend is being paid by clients as a hunting guide to go out and shoot animals in traps, he's breaking the law. Please call the cops with your evidence. If you don't, you are as guilty as he is.

Patrick
5
Points
Patrick 06/12/12 - 09:16 am
3
0
Wolfs

It is not that a few trappers are money grubbers, they are trying to make a living just like everyone else. Wolves are resiliant pack animals and are very effective in taking down game and evaiding traps and snares. Too many in today's society are ignorant of the normal cycle of life and death in the wild and tend to humanize wild creatures. The wolf pack will not dissapear, but may be set back for a cycle is all. The political correctness of today is getting out of hand.

leestone
2
Points
leestone 06/16/12 - 09:18 pm
0
1
more wildlife-fewer people

People here seem to be takers of our environment but put very little back into it.

We will outgrow our natural resources in Alaska just like everywhere else due to over consumption.

Surely, we as Alaskans are smart enough to come up with alternative ways to make a living other than bringing people from out of state to kill our wildlife in future generations.

Three neighbors, a couple of dog musher friends and I have had dogs caught and permanently maimed in traps. Trapping does not strike me as humane after these experiences. Yes, they were illegal traps set close to our rural homes, but I no longer view trapping in the same light as other forms of hunting.

Watchman on the Wall
2893
Points
Watchman on the Wall 06/17/12 - 06:17 am
1
2
Abort them all would be the

Abort them all would be the solution i guess. We need to stop & listen to what is being said here once again with the animals being placed above humans. Everything is out of wack with mankinds Perverted desire to control, we kill humans with no thought what soever at a rate of over 6000 babies a day in America, no telling how many abortions daily here in Alaska. All the while we worry about wolves or bears and preserving them to the point of overflowing. Wolves & bears are both preditors like mankind that attack, kill & eat other animals as well as humans, but thats ok to protect animals.
What a twisted mindset we have of whats important.
Be patient, the global economy will help the remote wolves & bears, but coming world troubles will also help in the desire to control & destroy more humans with the abortion age rising beyond the unborn to all ages as we wage war against our neighbors for our self serving desires to survive.
Sorry if i went off here a little with my analogy of what i see in this mixed up world we live in of whats right or wrong to everyone on everything, everyday which seems to make absolutely no differance as we spiral downward toward the end of the age.

reality22
13
Points
reality22 07/03/12 - 02:40 pm
1
0
reality

Joat, nice posts.....why even bother with Billy Huard? Thank you for keeping your cool and maintaining your composure. Some people are just anti-people....they think that feeding ungulates to the wolves is more "humane" than the hunter/sportsman harvesting them for food..... These people love it that we spend 75 million dollars every year on wild horses (because animal rights people wore their hearts on their sleeve before congress).......they love it that Wisconsin is spending 3/4 of a million managing the depredation of 800 wolves (which is more than what they spend managing 35000 black bears)..... they want another 10000 wolves across the US (even though some states are now spending almost $1000 per wolf per year to managing them) ..... they want more even though people are up in arms about the damage of 26 wolves in Oregon yet these people claim 2000 would fit into the poor habitat there......... I could go on and on and on......

Joat, there is a book called "Rambunctious gardens" by Emma Marris where she talks about the new era of conservation & a new way ecologist are looking at ecosystems..... we need to continue to support these kind of evolutionary thinkers where man is a part of the environment and ecosystems are designed to support the 315 million people in the US. Thanks again for not stooping to the lows some did in this thread. Continue to fight for reform of the Endangered Species Act for it is currently designed to try to turn everything back to jurassic park, does nothing for the betterment of the environment & wastes Gigantic amounts of environmental dollars on environmental lawyers.

lkpomn912
931
Points
lkpomn912 07/05/12 - 11:44 pm
0
0
Saying that tourist come here

Saying that tourist come here to see the wolves is like saying they come here to see mosquitoes.

For the guy that said the wolves are poor defenseless creatures, he needs to stay out of the woods his socks are smarter than he is.

If you want to treat wolves like people, then treat them like felons in street gangs. This Political environmental correctness crap is out of control.

Madravenspeak
4
Points
Madravenspeak 08/14/12 - 06:08 pm
0
0
ORGANIZE to reform state agencies away from killing brokerage

Hunting was harvested with the old frontier and what are left are serial killers who enjoy the "lifestyle" of the "rugged individualist" who goes out killing with his buddies - enjoys drinking, driving around with his low and high tech weaponry, night scopes, lures, distress calls of pups and deer, and torture and mayhem.

Trappers are sadists. I served on the trapping committee of the sole advisory to the Wisconsin state killing brokerage. Sick sadists all. They just cannot get enough of their take and torture. It is an addiction. MORE MORE MORE and different...sort of like men who cannot get enough "strange" conquest of women - domination, score another one - sickos that will only be controlled when the general public cares enough to end it.

The CORE problem is that state agencies are funded by killing licenses - so the focus and revenue is maximum "killing opportunity" for the few to rape out what the Wildlife Public Trust Doctrine clearly states is to be stewarded by all citizens. If a "patron" went in to buy his kill anyone that moves license and found only SAVING licenses, how stunned and outraged would he be. That is exactly how outraged I am to go in and find only killing licenses creating only a killing brokerage and EXCLUDING the rest of us.

ORGANIZE to reform the state agencies and demand your human right to pay and have a say. Wildlife watchers already bring 10-40 times more revenue to state tax coffers (U.S. Fish & Wildlife economic impact studies, 2006, comparing state by state, wildlife watching tax revenues to hunting - new statistics due out in November, 2012). It is stunning how much more money is generated by wildlife watchers. In fact, all that killing licenses pay for is the mechanism of killing - the registration stations, killing facilitator staff of the state agencies, the pro-hunting lawyers, purchased rationalizing "biologists" to spin the endless killing rationale, and stocking, destroying and a good ole boy warden staff to wink at the whole disaster.

Replace killing licenses with the wildlife watching money we already generate and demand your citizen rights to be involved FAIRLY in the power structure, Natural Resources Boards and entire system. Hopefully there will be precedent setting lawsuits under the Wildlife Public Trust Doctrine to bring a first time democracy to state agencies before they have killed off our supposed "commons".

Madravenspeak
4
Points
Madravenspeak 08/14/12 - 06:28 pm
0
0
Humanizing wildlife?

I would not degrade wolves and innocent wildlife with trying to "humanize" them. The few wild predators on this planet are the top down strengthening factor of biodiversity and intact ecosystems.

It is humans who are hoarding 55 billion farm animals in horrific conditions to send them to slaughterhouse early deaths in cruel out of sight kill lines. (Slaughterhouse animal production is 51% cause of global warming according to Worldwatch Institute). It is humans who are emptying our aquifers to raise cattle ( takes enough water to float a battleship to raise one cow to slaughter ), destroying our topsoil,poisoning our crops, monoculturing former wild native nature to filter healthy grains and plants through animals to support the medical industrial complex $$$ giving people heart disease, obesity, kidney failure and diabetes - diseases of excess protein, excess suffering ingested into sick bodies and sicker lost souls.

It is humans who are shark finning, whale killing (only 5% of large mammals left in our dying oceans - acidifying from human caused global climate warming - overfished and overkilled by humans)...It is humans who are destroying our once beautiful planet and overpopulating with no plan to stop.

So "humanizing" wolves is an injustice. The Wisconsin biologist who worked with wolves for 30 years as they migrated into the state from Minnesota, himself a trapper and hunter, was clearly changed by his encounters with wolves. He said, " I pushed wolves off of deer carcasses...I had wolves walk right up to me - and I never felt the need to carry a firearm and I never did." That speaks highly of wolves. It is the same with bears. Lynn Rogers who studied black bears for 44 years said, "You are never so safe as in the woods with a black bear." Unless of course, the murderers are out there running packs of dogs and killing killing killing. 2/3 of the 5,000 black bears killed in Wisconsin annually are cubs 8 months to a year and a half old, by the sick agency's own statistics. Sickening.

And "reality" get your reality straight. There are not 35,000 bears in Wisconsin - where do you get your fantasy figures ? The estimate for years was 11,000 to 14,000 until the bear hounders found a biologist for hire who also shilled for Safari International headhunters - to do a "new study" that suddenly doubled the population to an estimated 25,000. But after 3 years of killing 5,000 per year, these slow breeding bears who stay with their cubs for 2 years, will not be able to keep up the "sustainable yield" of farming for high numbers for killers to have fun shooting trapped in trees.

Wildlife killers have dropped their pretense of "fair chase" (as if being armed can at any time be fair against an unarmed animal) - and are now showing their outright sadism.

No - spare wolves the degradation of "humanizing". They are not the problem. Look in the mirror. Take a good long look and multiply that by 7 billion plus.

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