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Bush administration wolf-killing plan

A new federal rule would allow state game agencies to kill endangered gray wolves that prey on wildlife in the Northern Rockies.

Excuse me, but isn’t that what wolves and other predators do naturally? They prey on other wildlife to survive. It’s what happens in … natural … ecosystems.

An estimated 1,545 wolves in Idaho, Wyoming and Montana are scheduled to come off the endangered species list in coming weeks, which would allow public hunting of the predators for the first time in decades.

The rule released Thursday (Jan. 24) is a separate action that would give the three states more latitude to kill wolves even if their removal from the endangered list is delayed. (In other words, to violate the Endangered Species Act!) The rule would empower state wildlife agents to kill packs of wolves if they can prove the animals are having a “major impact” on big game herds such as elk, deer or moose.

Ah, now I understand. These states feel the wolves are competing with human hunters that spend a lot of money in the states when they come to shoot and kill elk, deer and moose. Too bad the wolves don’t have any money to spend.

The rule also would allow hunting guides and others (???) to kill wolves caught harassing dogs or stock animals on public land. Previously, only cattle or sheep ranchers whose animals were being harassed could legally shoot the predators.

Critics contend officials in Wyoming and Idaho — spurred on by anti-wolf livestock interests — are gearing up to kill hundreds of the animals. Those critics say that could knock down the animal’s population in the region by more than half, undermining a decade-long restoration effort that has cost taxpayers (that’s you and me, folks) more than $24 million.

“There’s just no biological justification for killing that many wolves,” said Suzanne Stone with Defenders of Wildlife. “It’s politically driven.”

As my friend and wild canid expert Camilla Fox says in this note:
Gary: Wolves are getting hit across the U.S. In addition to this insanity happening in the Northern Rockies, Wisconsin just proposed a wolf hunting season (where there are fewer than 400 individuals) and Arkansas is seeking a state sponsored denning program (where wolf pups are killed in their dens) (do they still pour gasoline in the dens and burn the cubs to death like the old days? /Gary) and less than 50 Mexican wolves remain in New Mexico and Arizona after the feds have killed off dozens because of depredation.
And how many millions were spent to “recover” these wolves?! And so the cycle is repeated …
Camilla, Larkspur

You can read more and find out what you can do about it … if you care … at:
http://www.defenders.org/newsroom/press_releases_folder/2008/01_24_2008_northern_rockies_wolves_lose_important_protections.php

Thanks for caring! /Gary

Posted on Friday, January 25th, 2008
Under: Endangered species, Wolves | No Comments »

You can stop Alaska’s aerial wolf hunting

Congressman George Miller’s new bill would stop illegal airborne hunting of Alaskan wolves and other wildlife.

I just received the following release from Congressman George Miller’s office:

WASHINGTON — Legislation introduced Tuesday (Sept. 5) would protect wolves, bears, and other wildlife from the illegal and inhumane practice of airborne hunting. The new bill would close a loophole in federal law that Alaska officials have exploited to permit individual hunters to shoot and kill nearly 700 wolves from aircraft in the past four years.

“It’s time to ground Alaska’s illegal and inhumane air assault on wolves,” said Congressman George Miller (D-CA), a leader in Congress on conservation and natural resource issues and author of the new bill. “The state of Alaska has been operating an airborne hunting program that not only ignores federal law but violates Alaskans’ and other Americans’ wishes. The PAW Act will help protect our nation’s wildlife from the unethical and unfair practice of airborne hunting.”

The Protect America’s Wildlife Act, or PAW Act, was introduced by Miller along with Rep. John Dingell (D-MI), the dean of the House and floor manager of the debate on the original Airborne Hunting Act, and Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA), the chair of the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee.

At a press conference on Capitol Hull, Miller was joined by Atka, a 3-year-old Arctic gray wolf, and two wildlife experts and advocates — Joel Bennett, an Alaska resident and former member of the state’s Board of Game, and Roger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife, a national conservation and environmental advocacy organization.

In response to public outcry over airborne wolf hunting in Alaska, Congress passed the Airborne Hunting Act of 1972 to prohibit shooting or harassing animals from aircraft. However, for the last several years, officials in Alaska have licensed people to shoot hundreds of wolves from aircraft under the guise of wildlife management and predator control but in clear violation of the intent of the federal ban.

In 1996 and again in 2000, Alaskans approved two popular ballot measures that banned airborne hunting in the state, but the state legislature largely overturned each of those measures.

Hunting wildlife from an aircraft violates wildlife management principles and the hunting rules of fair chase, as does the related practice of chasing animals in aircraft until they are exhausted and then executing them on the ground, known as “land and shoot.”

The PAW Act makes it clear that states can only conduct activities prohibited by the Airborne Hunting Act to respond to legitimate biological and other emergencies, not just to authorize otherwise-illegal hunting practices. The bill does not alter existing exceptions for the use of aircraft for animal control where land, livestock, water, pets, crops, or human health and safety are at risk.

The bill will be considered by the Committee on Natural Resources.

YOU CAN HELP:
Please help to get this bill passed. Go to the Defenders of Wildlife web site (below), click on the TAKE ACTION button under the photo of the wolf head on the left and fill out the form urging your Representative to sign on as a co-sponsor to Miller’s PAW Act: http://www.defenders.org/index.php

More about the aerial hunting of wolves:
http://www.defenders.org/programs_and_policy/policy_and_legislation/airborne_hunting.php

You can save the Alaska wolves. Please do. Thanks. /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, September 26th, 2007
Under: Wolves | No Comments »

Kill all the wolves!

Alaska wolf “control” program has trouble finding wolves to kill
The state of Alaska is far from meeting its goal in its aerial wolf-killing program that ended April 30. They reported 175 wolves killed, which is a fraction of the 664 animals targeted by the state’s wildlife managers.

The Alaska Board of Game says thin snow in many areas made tracking wolves difficult and high fuel prices kept some pilots and aerial gunners grounded.

Defenders of Wildlife contends the low numbers are due to a lack of wolves. Conservation groups say the state has overestimated wolf numbers and so many have been killed in past years that they’re more difficult to find.

Maybe there just aren’t any wolves left to find.

The game board launched their ridiculous “predator-control” effort five years ago to try and boost moose populations so they could attract more out-of-state hunters to come spend their money in Alaska.

Wolves don’t buy hunting licenses and contribute to the state’s economy. Human hunters do.

In an effort to speed up the number of kills this year, the state Department of Fish and Game decided to offer a $150 bounty for the left front leg of every dead wolf. Advocacy groups sued and a state Superior Court judge ordered the bounty stopped before a payment had been made, saying the department lacked the authority to offer the bounty.

So why didn’t the judge simply order the wolf-killing stopped?

MORE ON THE INTERNET:

Defenders of Wildlife
http://www.defenders.org/wildlife/wildlife.html

Alaska Wildlife Alliance
http://www.akwildlife.org

Posted on Thursday, May 10th, 2007
Under: Wolves | No Comments »

Judge won’t stop wolf-killing

The state of Alaska just doesn’t get it. Blasting wolves from airplanes isn’t a management program. It’s a greedy slaughter.

See the news story below by Associated Press writer Mary Pemberton from today’s AP wires:

“ANCHORAGE, Alaska — A judge denied a request Wednesday to put an immediate stop to an Alaska program that allows wolves to be shot from the air.

“The request was made as part of a lawsuit filed by Defenders of Wildlife, The Alaska Wildlife Alliance and the Alaska chapter of the Sierra Club to stop the program operating in five areas of the state.

“‘We are disappointed that Alaska’s ill-advised aerial gunning program will continue before a complete examination of all the facts can take place,’ Karla Dutton, director of the Alaska office of Defenders of Wildlife, a national group with more than 800,000 members, said in a statement.

“The program, which has been the target of lawsuits since it began in 2003, is intended to boost moose and caribou numbers where residents have complained that predators are killing too many, leaving them too few to hunt for food.

“Under the program, now in its fourth year, 580 wolves have been killed. The goal is to reduce wolf populations in each of the specified areas by as much as 80 percent annually. … “

As I suggested on Jan. 12 when I was discussing why the Gov. of Idaho wants to kill wolves in his state … the wolves are competing with Idaho’s multimillion-dollar hunting industry.

Alaska’s ulterior motives appear to be the same. They don’t want natural predators competing with paying hunters who travel to Alaska and feed dollars into the state’s hunting industry coffers.

The wolves don’t buy hunting licenses and contribute to the state’s economy. Human hunters do.

More on the Internet:
http://www.defenders.org
http://www.akwildlife.org/

Posted on Thursday, February 1st, 2007
Under: Wolves | 2 Comments »

Alaska’s cruel wolf slaughter

Hi Gary: My wife and I both read and enjoy your column. Since you are an animal lover, like us, I want to request that you alert your readers about an extreme situation of animal cruelty currently going on in the State of Alaska.

It is the governor sanctioned slaughter of wolves from aircraft, in violation of the Federal Hunting Act. These blood-thirsty goons (no other description is appropriate), run these magnificent wolves down to exhaustion and then execute them at point black range.

This includes mother wolves being followed by frightened cubs … all of them. Wolves are magnificent animals with sophisticated pack structures, natural and beautiful predators that keep the natural ecosystem in check.

Please use the forum of your daily column to speak out against this. /Dick Augusta, Antioch, California

Posted on Thursday, February 9th, 2006
Under: Alaska, Animals, death, wild predators, Wildlife, Wolves | No Comments »