What will be next for wolves?

Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2007

We are poised on a slippery slope of wildlife mismanagement and have taken our first step downward with Gov. Palin’s wolf bounty. When there are so few good answers to the management issues, more and more the state is listening to a minority of extremists who cry out to kill wolves, kill bears, kill so we may have more to kill in turn.

These groups (chiefly the Alaska Outdoors Council) say they don’t want wolves wiped out yet every time a wildlife issue arises their response is just that. It’s careful lip service that disguises the same intent that leads to the decimation of wolves and grizzlies in the Lower 48. Decades after that goal was achieved wildlife managers found the deer populations did increase until winter die-offs were counted in the thousands, epidemics like mad deer disease arose, and vehicle collisions went up considerably.

The re-introduction of predators such as wolves in many of these afflicted states is an effort still being fought by AOC-types but fortunately the need for a healthy predator population is taking precedence. Since Yellowstone National Park brought back its wolves, biologists have seen a revitalization and diversification of the plant life with a subsequent diversification of animal life. A renewed ecosystem has been the result from which all benefit.

Yet, here in Alaska the wolf-haters continue to perpetrate outrage after outrage on our wildlife. While Gov. Palin has found $150 to pay for the foreleg of every wolf killed under this program twice banned by Alaskans, she cannot find the funds to increase education for our children. She sends blood money to the airborne shooters yet denies a Longevity Bonus to help our senior Alaskans. She claims to listen to all Alaskans but hears only the AOC whose goals are terribly out of step with mainstream Alaska.

We deserve better. For when the last of the target 600-plus wolves are killed do not believe for one moment that the wolf-haters will be satisfied. It will then be a matter of what horror will they next visit on our wildlife.

Art Greenwalt

Fairbanks



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