Yukon wolf-killing goes on

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1995:

KLUANE –Begun at the same time as the just-
halted Alaskan wolf-killing, the Yukon’s wolf purge will
go on as scheduled for three more winters, Yukon renew-
able resources minister Mickey Fisher stated December 21.
Helicopter gunners have killed 94 wolves in the 7,722-
square-mile Aishihik region of the Yukon, adjacent to the
Kluane National Park World Heritage site, during the past
two winters. As in Alaska, the object of the killing is to
make more caribou available to hunters––and is rational-
ized as being for the benefit of indigenous people. But
again as in Alaska, the real issue isn’t meat.
“Big-game hunting outfitters are among the most
vocal promoters of the Yukon wolf-kill, for obvious rea-
sons,” fisheries technician Richard Mahoney pointed out a
year ago in the Seattle Times. “Both the territorial govern-
ment leader, John Ostashek, and his minister for renewable
resources, Bill Brewster, are former hunting outfitters.

The Champagne-Aishihik First Nation is another aggressive
proponent of the plan. Last but not least are horse owners
in the area, most of whom are outfitters or members of the
Champagne-Aishihik First Nation. Horses are central to the
issue. Horses are used primarily as pack and saddle animals
for big game hunting,” which accounts for about 25% of all
Yukon tourism. “At the end of the hunts, after months of
hard use, they are turned loose to fend for themselves on
the very spare Yukon range, which has snow cover from
October to May and winter temperatures to 50 degrees
below zero, and is 1,000 miles from the nearest hay field
worthy of the name. Wolves prey on these winter-starved
beasts, and attrition can be high, especially on replacement
stock brought up from more southerly pastures.”
Friends of Animals, the World Wildlife Fund
Canada, and Friends of the Wolf, among other groups,
have actively opposed the Yukon killing from inception,
but so far to little avail.
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