Alaska revives plan to strafe wolves

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1993:

JUNEAU, Alaska––Just six months after an
international tourism boycott forced the Alaska Board of
Game to rescind a plan to strafe radio-collared wolves,
the board is ready to ratify essentially the same
plan––unless it ratifies one even deadlier.
On the agenda for the June 26 meeting of the
Board of Game are 92 separate wolf management pro-
posals, including two from the state Department of Fish
and Game that differ from last winter’s proposal mainly
in that they would encourage killing as many wolves as
possible from the ground before the air strikes begin.
Hunters and trappers would be given the radio collar
frequencies, so that they could trace each wolf pack in
the Delta and Fortymile areas, south of Fairbanks, right
to their dens. The killing could start as early as July 1.

The Department of Fish and Game proposals
renege on deputy director of wildlife conservation
Wayne Regelin’s written statement last January that “the
commissioner of Fish and Game has suspended imple-
mentation of the wolf management plan and ordered that
no wolf control measures be taken in 1993.”
When the new proposals became public,
Regelin said his written statement was made “in error.”
Most of the other proposals to the Board of
Game, presented by various individuals and organiza-
tions, call for a similar approach. Some would legalize
jacklighting wolves; some would legalize poisoning
wolves; some would restore bounties on wolves; many
would defy the federal Airborne Hunting Act by reviv-
ing wolf hunting from the air by private individuals.
Only a symbolic handful would stop the slaughter.
The original rationale for the wolf-killing was
to increase the number of moose and caribou available
to hunters in the heavily hunted area between
Anchorage and Fairbanks. But for many would-be
wolf-killers, the issue now is political independence.
As Alaska governor Walter Hickel put it in defending
last winter’s wolf-killing proposals, “I will not be part
of the state of Alaska giving away its sovereignity.” As
leader of the Alaska Independence Party, Hickel favors
seceding from the United States.
“They hope to take the fizzle out of a tourism
boycott,” said Friends of Animals president Priscilla
Feral, who was among the first to call last winter’s boy-
cott, “by shooting wolves this summer,” after most trav-
el reservations have been booked. “Then the big killing
would start in the early winter of 1994, when the snow is
deep and the wolves can be easily tracked from the air.
Boycotts will have a powerful effect in November, when
people are making reservations for the summer of 1994.
Unfortunately, November is too late, as Alaska will say
they’ve been knocking off wolves all summer and fall.
Our enormous task is to announce something as soon as
the Board of Game decision comes out, and then keep
the message alive for the next six months.”
Letters protesting plans to kill wolves may be
addressed to Hickel at P.O. Box 110001, Juneau, AK
9981-0001, and to Connel Murray, State of Alaska
Dept. of Commerce and Economic Development, P.O.
Box 110801, Juneau, AK 99811-0801.
Polls show that despite the vociferous support
for wolf-killing from hunters, most Alaskans believe the
whole idea should be cancelled.
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