State must eliminate predators to ensure survival of game animals

Posted: Sunday, April 06, 2003

The timing of John Toppenberg's April Fools Day opinion article, entitled "Myths Drive Wolf Decision," couldn't have been more appropriate, since he attempts to convince this community that his "Myth" article is not only true, but that he actually knows what he's talking about. That in itself is a fairy tale of epic proportions.

After taking this trip through Mr. Toppenberg's imagination, where he creates a twisted tale portraying the Board of Game and hunters as the terrible evil destroying all wildlife, we need to look at reality.

The following facts (as documented by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service) illustrate the success of wildlife conservation efforts in the United States: before 1910, white tail deer numbered less than a half million -- today there are over 27 million; elk numbered 40,000 -- today there are over 750,000; and Antelope numbered less than 5,000 -- today there are over 1 million. This is a direct result of wildlife conservation laws and management programs demanded and funded by hunters in other states. Unfortunately, the decreasing number of game animals in Alaska is a direct result of wolf preservation, the lack of scientific management and the political posturing during the past eight years by the Knowles administration.

If this state does not take drastic measures with managing its predator populations, there won't be a caribou, moose or anything else standing alongside the highway for the "wilderness explorers" threatening to boycott Alaska to photograph.

Keith Phillips


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