Wake-up call on behalf of wolves
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 1994:
NEW YORK, New York––The wolves massacred in Alaska last
winter are dead but not forgotten––and neither are those slated for death next
winter, as Alaska continues to kill wolves to make moose and caribou more
plentiful for hunters. To be sure the wolves are remembered, pajama-clad
Friends of Animals volunteers and staffers occupied the lobby of the ABC-
TV headquarters on the morning of May 19 during the broadcast of the
Good Morning America show, protesting a week-long promotion of
Alaskan tourism. Six demonstrators were arrested for trespassing.
ABC had already scheduled a 30-minute segment on the wolf
killing, featuring a debate between Stephen Wells of the Alaska Wildlife
Alliance and a spokesperson for the state of Alaska––but it aired after the
promotion of Alaska was over with and most of the resultant travel bookings,
FoA believed, would already have been made.
Preparing for further conflict, the Alaska House of Representatives
on April 28 passed a bill to enable the state Department of Fish and Game to
withhold data about wolf pack locations––purportedly to protect wolves
from poachers, but actually directed, newspaper editorials agreed, at inde-
pendent wolf expert Gordon Haber, who sued to obtain such information
last year, then embarrased officials with aerial surveys that showed many of
their claims about wolf, moose, and caribou numbers were inaccurate.
Alaska DFG wildlife conservation director Dave “Machine-Gun”
Kelleyhouse said May 14 at the annual meeting of the Western Association
of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, held in Anchorage, that Alaskan authorities
had received more than 100,000 letters protesting their wolf-killing plans in
1992 alone––when the plans weren’t even announced until November 18.
The meeting followed hearings held by the Federal Subsistence
Board, which ruled on April 15 that trappers may not shoot wolves on feder-
al lands the same day they fly in aircraft. This reverses Alaskan policy,
which allows trappers to shoot wolves if they first walk 300 feet from the air-
Jeanne McVey of the Sea Wolf Alliance represented the
Wildlife Refuge Reform Coalition at the Federal Subsistence Board hearings.
“In no other state,” she said, “is so much wilderness set aside in National
Wildlife Refuges, and in no other state do the refuges more closely resemble
hunting preserves. On the other hand,” she told ANIMAL PEOPLE, “I’m
surprised to find myself saying that I think the animal protectionists’ testimo-
ny actually had a positive effect. At the very least, the officials received a
powerful reminder that most visitors to federal lands, especially the refuges,
wish to view wildlife without dodging hunters’ bullets.”
McVey also had good words for her opponents. “Never at a meet-
ing like this where wildlife policy is decided and forged into law,” she said,
“have I encountered enemies who are so gracious. The Alaskan natives who
picked apart my testimony––as I did theirs––approached me during the
breaks, offering to shake hands and be friends despite our disagreements.”
The Clinton administration is to rule by June 4 on a U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service recommendation that wolves should be reintroduced to
Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, 60 years after they were extir-
pated. The wolves would be live-trapped in western Canada. Ranchers would
be allowed to kill any wolves caught in the act of attacking livestock.
Three or four wolf packs were expected to produce cubs this spring
in Sweden, continuing a recovery from extirpation that began when a small
pack roved over the border from Finland in 1983. One of the Swedish packs
occasionally wanders in Norway, which has no native wolves at present.
“Many people, even among farmers in the wolf area, are more positive than
five or ten years ago,” reports Jon Bekken of the Norwegian Society for the
Protection of Carnivores and Raptors.
The Siberian wolf population is recovering, says the ITAR-Tass
news agency, because due to the Russian financial crisis, the government has
ceased paying bounties equal to a typical worker’s wage for a month.