Monday, 9 February 2009

Predator control

Excerpts from an item in the Anchorage Daily News on July 20, 2008:

Wildlife biologists kill 14 wolf pups on Alaska Peninsula

PREDATOR CONTROL: Controversial move meant to help caribou.

State wildlife biologists killed 14 wolf pups on the Alaska Peninsula as part of a predator control program to help a struggling caribou herd. Biologists found the 4 to 5-week-old pups when they landed to collect carcasses of adult wolves shot from a helicopter two months ago near Cold Bay, about 600 miles southwest of Anchorage.

"As we got on the calving grounds, we took adults, and in the course of taking adults we found there were pups," said Doug Larsen, director of the state Division of Wildlife Conservation, from Juneau.

Biologists had killed 14 adult wolves, including mothers of the pups. Each pup was shot in the head.

"It's a quick, humane way to kill them," said area management biologist Lem Butler of King Salmon.

The state issued a press release on June 27 about killing wolves but made no mention of killing pups, only that "wolves from three packs were shot from a helicopter by Alaska Department of Fish and Game staff."

It was the first time in more than 20 years that department biologists killed wolves from the air. Butler said it was his opinion that the use of the helicopter was more pertinent than killing pups.

Omitting the pup killings "wasn't an attempt to hide anything, by any means," Larsen said.

(Doug Larsen was appointed director of the state Division of Wildlife Conservation in August 2007.)


There must be better ways to control the wolf population. Wildlife conservation surely includes wolves? Aren't human hunters classed as predators?

So many questions...but certain people don't want to answer them!

(Sadly, there are only about 6000 to 8000 wolves residing in Alaska and an estimated 4500 in the lower 48 states. The biggest threats to the gray wolf are illegal hunting and trapping, along with loss of their natural habitat.)

ADN original article