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Finally, the wolves won. Then Alaska's Board of Game changed the rules.

February 01, 2006 | Wolves

On the 17th of January, Alaska's Superior Court declared that the aerial wolf control scheme, in which people in aircraft chase wolves to exhaustion and then shoot them, is invalid. The airborne hunting permits, issued to boost moose populations for human hunters, flew in the face of the Board of Game's own regulations. Since 2003, 445 wolves have been gunned down using those permits that were wrongly issued. The state wants to wipe out 400 more wolves under the scheme this season, but the permits were recalled. So Alaska's Board of Game called an emergency meeting -- as though its lack of competence in adhering to its own rules is properly called an emergency.

Sunday, the 29th of January, the Board just flat-out repealed requirements for public notice and input regarding wolf and bear control. It also repealed all requirements and limitations that apply generally to wolf control -- the very bases for the Court's initial January ruling that existing wolf control plans are invalid! For the first time in history, Alaska's officials are allowing the sale of bear hides and skulls. The Board of Game decided to apply this rule in a part of northeastern Alaska, and the interior areas where aerial wolf hunting has been allowed. Bruce Bartley, a Fish and Game spokesperson, said that when Alaska gained statehood, many residents thought federal laws had targeted wolves and bears too ruthlessly, and the new state "wanted to treat them as animals worthy of respect in their own right." As Bartley told the Anchorage Daily News: Things are different now. Animals aren't worthy of respect these days in Alaska. Their fate lies with a capricious Game Board, or game-playing board. When caught in their games, they try, like peeved children, to change the rules. Friends of Animals' goal is to stop the entire scheme. Last Friday -- ten days after the wolves prevailed in Court -- we returned, seeking a Temporary Restraining Order to stop the Game Board's "emergency" circumvention. Yesterday, the judge turned down our Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order against the emergency regulations adopted by the Board last week. So predator control can go forth, under the new regulations we've just challenged. We're now considering our legal options. Please consider making a donation to our efforts on behalf of Alaska's wolves.


I Read this article and i tore my heart... I Love wolves thre looks and personality and nature in them... it sickens me that all those wolves were gunned down like that... i hope your thing works Molly. Best luck to you. Sorry about my spelling im horrable ^_^

I notice something about the reader comments you post to this blog. The vast majority are supportive of FOA (not surprising; this is, after all, the FOA web site), but when you post comments that oppose your views, you choose to reveal only those that are foolish, poorly written, and easy to counter - as if to show your members what dunderheads the "other guys" are. A good example exists in the comments posted under your Jan. 17 news. Yet when Alaskans like myself send comments that are factually accurate and well-informed, and impossible for you to refute, you refuse to publish them, and dismiss them as "demented" and "mainpulative". You do everyone - including yourself - a disservice by censoring opposing views. [Blog editors' note: We don't fashion the letters that wolf-hunters send, so if these writers appear to be unhinged, that's their reflection. If Alaska's wolf-haters were able to opine on the topic of the blog posting, rather than off-topic, more postings would appear -- minus, of course, the bravado about how much they enjoy making animals dead. ]

It is interesting that Blog postings of some Alaskans are "deleted for the sake of efficiency and civility" yet veiled and not so veiled physical threats against Alaskan political figures are not. Perhaps we have a different definition of "civility" in Alaska. My thought is that the real problem is that the good people back East would rather muse about fantasies like aerial bear hunting (which does not exist) instead of hearing and discussing what is actually happening in Alaska. I'm sorry you see our discussions as lecturing about the courts. Perhaps someone with several decades of experience working in the Alaska Courts knows something about them that you could learn from. It is possible that someone who has spent his lifetime in the Alaska outdoors knows something that you didn't learn in your Walmart book. It is even possible that someone who has been very involved in Alaska politics might actually have a better idea of what will and won't politically fly up here. ...It is the same thing with the Alaska Boycott. While a legitimate form of political speech, it has not worked in the past. Yet you still have very well intentioned folks suggesting that you fire up another boycott effort. All the while, money is being spent, time is passing and more wolves are dying. So why create the staw man? No one is trying to limit your rights to free speech. However, how many wolves has all this speech actually saved? If i was truly Machiavellian I would suggest that you keep on trying your tried and failed methods because they will very likely fail again. However I'm still operating under the premise that you are really trying to save wolves and not just fund raise but the disconnect between your methods and the good they actually produce for the wolves suggests otherwise. As I've said many times, I wouldn't shed a tear if aerial wolf control went away tommorow. However your methods and somethimes violent rehtoric seem to be almost designed to unify Alaskans against you. J [Commentary and opinions regarding FoA's lawyer and litigation, and other named parties, has been deleted, as marked by the ellipse in the above comment. Any communications regarding FoA litigation should be directed to Atty. Reeves. Readers should be aware that Friends of Animals is working in the interest of non-violent goals and endorses peaceful methods to achieve those goals.]

Friends of Animals' tourism boycotts have been successful. The first one succeeded in 1992, when then-Gov. Wally Hickel stopped a similar aerial program after just 15 days. Even FoA's latest boycott of Alaska tourism "worked" -- not as in worked to earn a dollar, but as in worked to achieve a goal. Our past and any future boycotts are all work to achieve the goal of ending the aerial wolf control program. The same is true for the court cases -- won or lost. And Friends of Animals will continue to work to achieve that goal. Offering up hypotheticals on what might have worked better is just a useless exercise for idle jaws and brains. For those Alaskans that express the view that "Outsiders" should stay out of their business, or Alaska is a place that can only be understood by Alaskans, here's a clue: It's not about Alaska. It's about the wolves. Bob Orabona Friends of Animals

Again I write, we have a different lifestyle in Alaska. Its a state based on personal freedom and native culture. What you people propose destroys whole ways of life. As the bumper sticker says (eat moose wear wolf). [Blog editors' note: As we repeat: there's no single voice in Alaska. Aerial wolf control permits are issued to well-heeled hunter-pilot teams who are privileged enough to own private aircraft. Your views don't define an entire culture.]

My heart is sad over what we are doing to our environment and our wildlife. The reason there is so very few caribou is not that the wolves are getting them more than they should it is what we have done to them. Sadly enough this is why global warming is not just a threat anymore but a definate issue for all of us because we say we need to stop all of this but we don't.

Somehow I don't see how stopping the wolf hunting by aircraft would destroy "whole ways of life." Somehow I doubt the native way of life in Alaska involves shooting wolves from the air. We're talking about hunters paying for the "privilege" of murdering for the thrill of it. True, FOA would like to see the end of hunting as a way of life, as would I, but that isn't what this protest is about. It is about stopping a barbaric practice that serves no valid purpose whatsoever. (Sorry - artificially inflating moose populations so the hunters will have more moose to kill is NOT a valid purpose). Alaska's ecosystem can balance itself out just fine without our interference - the meddling must stop.

I like reading all of these posts but I wonder if you actually belive the inacurate factoids you spout. The number one problem I see is lack of information. As a "well-heeled" hunter your shots fall short. Bringing some kind of class war aginst the wealthy man with the airplane it just...well, dosent fly. Airplanes are like cars here anyone who wants to go anywhere in Alaska has one. I wont say they are cheap but in aircraft you can spend as much or as little as you like depending on the performance you want. The hunter teams you mention go through a training and slection process by fish and game these are not glory hounds out for the kill. The men I know are trappers and bush poeple who have been flying and hunting for their whole lives. They respect the game they hunt and the training helps for cleaner kills with less suffering. Alaska's predator/prey will balance but the cycle you speak of is very long. The information has gotten weird with climactic change thrown in the mix. Even the experts have no idea when the moose populations will rebound. These would be the moose that the wolves and bears decimated not hunters as you might have been lead to think. Hunters make a laughably small impact on the moose populations in the predator control areas. This also brings that up the predator control areas, they are tiny specks in a state with a scale most people cant understand. Just like I cant understand why people choose to live packed together like sardines. I wish it was as cut and dried as the talking heads say but its not. Just try to be tolerant of lifestyles and cultures you may not understand. Thats why I started posting Im trying to understand. Understand how imposing your views can somehow be right or just. [Blog editors' note: You're assuming far too much. Where do you live in Alaksa? ]

Sean P. White, whose comment appears above, is listed as a resident of Fairbanks, Alaska, a city with a population of 30,900. Fairbanks is the hub for predator control and anti-wolf sentiment, a city I've visited many times. The huge supermarket-department store, Fred Meyer, is located there along with a pioneer theme park, restaurants, coffee shops, hotels, boutiques, the University of Alaska and more. There's no shortage of produce, expensive private planes, off-road vehicles or four-wheel drive trucks. Priscilla Feral Friends of Animals

Sean, Respect for animals begins with validating their interest in experiencing life on their own terms. Cleaner kills with less suffering is not respect. Ellie Maldonado Friends of Animals Another point that Ellie and I have been talking about this morning. That hunted animals are considered "game" - and thus that there is a Board of Game - suggests that hunters enjoy chasing and killing others and that there is a deep-seated ambivalence in the Board's mission. Etymology of game: Sense of "wild animals caught for sport" (c.1290), hence fair game (1825); also gamey "having the flavor of game" (1863). Lee Hall Friends of Animals