The greatest wolf massacre in North America since the 1950s is now sadly underway, and, unbelievably, it is occurring in Alaska – the last true wilderness area we have left.
Governor Frank Murkowski has reinstated the barbaric practice of aerial hunting, and marksmen in Alaska now gun down wolves from the air that are extremely easy targets against the fallen white snow. They can also run these wolves to exhaustion, then land and shoot them point blank. And these aerial gunners are allowed to kill males, females, and even wolf pups as part of this program.
Murkowski's Board of Game has already approved the killing of over 1,000 wolves. And they are likely to increase that number dramatically next year.
According to Alaska Department of Fish and Game regulation 5AAC 92.125, seven aerial wolf killing programs have been approved, with a goal to kill between 1,200 and 1,400 wolves.
And one of the areas where aerial hunting is now allowed is along the Canadian border near Tok, Alaska. There is a scientifically significant group of wolves living in this area, which as a result of years of intense study and research using aircraft, are particularly vulnerable to aerial gunners. Though this group of wolves spends a majority of their time on the federally protected Yukon Charley Preserve, they seasonally leave this preserve to follow the caribou herds, making them extremely easy targets for aerial gunners.
The Federal Airborne Hunting Act was enacted by Congress way back in 1971 to stop such aerial slaughter, yet it has been reinstated in Alaska.
Alaskan citizens, both in 1996 and in 2000, voted to ban the aerial killing of wolves. Nevertheless, Governor Murkowski signed a bill two years ago overturning the most recent ban.
Numerous scientific studies have shown that wolves are beneficial to the overall health of natural ecosystems, especially in Alaska, to help keep their moose and caribou populations healthy and strong.
Wolves are also important to Alaska’s billion-dollar tourism industry, yet it seems its Governor is bowing only to sport hunters who resent the fact that wolves are allowed to hunt moose and caribou, too.
Maybe non-hunting tourists should now boycott Alaskan wilderness vacation and ship cruise trips. I wonder if these sport hunters will spend enough money in Alaska all by themselves to keep its tourist industry healthy and viable?
“It’s deplorable that Governor Murkowski continues to back the extermination of wolves in key areas across the state even though his so-called predator control programs lack scientifically-based standards and guidelines to monitor the program,” stated Karen Deatherage, Alaska Associate for Defenders of Wildlife.
“Lower 48 and urban trophy hunters are clearly the only beneficiaries of the governor’s ill-advised policy.”
Many of us also believe that Interior Secretary Gale Norton should enforce the Federal Airborne Hunting Act and halt this renewed aerial wolf slaughter in Alaska immediately. To date, she has refused to act.
Wolves have been persecuted in North America for far too long now, and they are increasingly losing their legislative protection in the few remaining areas they still cling to in the lower 48 states.
Must we take the only true wilderness area left in North America away from them, too?
Please add your voice, and call upon Secretary Norton to act today.
Dear Interior Secretary Norton,
I am outraged by the wolf massacre now underway in Alaska through the outdated and inhumane practice of aerial gunning. Numerous scientific studies show that wolves are beneficial to the overall health of natural ecosystems; they have very little refuge left in North America; and I call upon you to enforce the Federal Airborne Hunting Act in Alaska, as required, and halt this barbaric practice at once.
Mailing Address:1849 C Street, N.W.
Department of the Interior
Washington DC 20240
And you might also want to contact Alaska’s Governor to voice your objections, and perhaps, dangle your vacation dollars at him, as you inform him your cruise to Alaska has been cancelled in favor of a Caribbean one:
Governor Frank MurkowskiP.O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811
Phone: (907) 465-3500
Fax: (907) 465-3532