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Alaska Tourism Boycott Continues

November 04, 2004 | Wolves

__State to kill up to 500 wolves by aerial shooting__

For Immediate Release: 4 November 2004
Contact: Daniel Hammer 1-203-656-1522

Darien, Connecticut , US -- In the first year of Alaska's current state-sponsored aerial wolf-killing scheme, over 200,000 people pledged to boycott the state's $2 billion-a-year tourism industry.

The tourism boycott, an intervention led by international animal advocacy organization Friends of Animals, is now resuming -- this time to impact Alaska's summer 2005 tourism season -- with over two dozen protests from Sitka, Alaska to New York City already scheduled in the first weeks of the campaign.

On Saturday the 6th of November, activists in 16 states will present Howl-Ins: Volunteers will collect signatures on postcards for Alaska's Gov. Frank Murkowski pledging to boycott travel to Alaska until the wolf-killing ends. Supporters of wolves will display posters announcing that "Alaska is planning a heart-stopping wildlife spectacle" and showing a wolf in a rifle's crosshairs.

Howl-Ins will continue through April 2005 unless Governor Murkowski calls off the state-sanctioned killers before that date. En route to San Francisco's annual Green Festival, Friends of Animals president Priscilla Feral said, "We cannot wait to howl with the people of San Francisco on Saturday and Sunday. We'll make sure that Frank Murkowski can hear us."

Since November of 2003, pilots have obtained permits issued by the Alaska Board of Game and the Department of Fish and Game. One by one, with the assistance of low, slow-flying aircraft, airborne hunters who traced, tracked, chased, and killed 147 wolves. This method of killing wolves has not been used since the late 1980s and is normally illegal in Alaska. But in spite of votes in which Alaskans opted to end same-day use of aircraft for public wolf hunting and trapping, the killing permits have Governor Murkowski's approval.

The state intends to permit the killing of up to 500 wolves this coming winter, beginning when autumn snowfalls allow for the tracking of wolves. The heightened killing plans come in the wake of a March 2004 approval for the opening of two new hunting areas.

Friends of Animals placed advertisements for the Alaska tourism boycott in the New York Times Sunday Magazine and Mother Jones Magazine; more to come soon. Friends of Animals also provides a 60-second video, available electronically at

In conjunction with the boycott, Friends of Animals will continue to have a presence in the Superior Court in Anchorage, as the organization's legal challenge to this killing continues.

Friends of Animals Howl-In listings will be updated each day as locations are confirmed. A complete and up-to-date listing of Howl-Ins and campaign supporters can be found at:


Where do you get the right to say that the wolves belong to the lower 48 states,How would you feel if I felt the same way about where you live , and came along and told you what to do, and yes the moose are getting slaughter by the wolves, right where I live we have had a young calf moose hanging around because it mother was kill by wolves trying to save it. And they didn't even finish eating her. It stay close to our home but now it is winter and there will be two death moose because it won't make the winter, And to have the idea people can eat beef or something you call food, is not right, I should have the right to eat what I want to eat basic on my Alaska Native Heritage , what I grew up eating, and what is better to eat then drug fill beef that you like to eat.

This morning I phoned Governor Murkowski#8217;s office to log my opinion about the aerial gunning of wolves. For the record, I am sickened. Wondering how they can justify this, I then searched the state#8217;s website for information about their #8220;program.#8221; I found a report from the [Alaska Board of Game dated March of this year.]( It appears to lay out the calculated, scientific reasoning behind the shooting of wolves. Throughout#8212;as would be expected#8212;this report puts the needs of human beings before all else, assuming that human beings have THE cardinal right to exist and absolute dominion over land and animals, giving wolves but one tiny concession: #8220;At no time should the wolf population in the Central Kuskokwim Wolf Control Implementation Area be reduced to fewer than 40 wolves.#8221; To take this document at face value from the point of view of someone who does not believe that beings other than humans have an inherent right to life, one would draw the following conclusions: a) This document is a scientific#8212;not political#8212;report; b) the data presented is the most relevant scientific data available and therefore conclusions drawn from this data are the most relevant, scientific conclusions available at this point; c) moose populations in these areas are threatened to the point that hunters #8220;taking#8221; moose for sustenance are suffering in some way; d) wolves are plentiful in these areas; e) killing a scientifically calculated number of wolves is a sound course of action to allow for the increase of moose populations to standards set by this department; f) local residents of these areas would benefit as a result of the killing of wolves and thus the increase of the moose population over five years. Here is a quote from this report: #8220;Data from moose mortality and predator/prey studies conducted throughout Alaska and similar areas in Canada suggest that reducing the number of wolves in the Central Kuskokwim Wolf Predation control Area can reasonably be expected to increase the survival of calf as well as older moose. Mortality studies conducted in Unit 19(D) East have shown that wolves accounted for 37% of calf mortality and 40% of yearling and adult mortality. In terms of the total population, wolves killed approximately 26% of the calf population and 8% of the adult and yearling population annually. Reducing wolf predation on moose, in combination with reducing harvest (particularly of cows), can reasonably be expected to initiate an increase of the moose population toward the population and harvest objectives.#8221; If I understand this correctly, this report also suggests #8220;reducing harvest#8221; of moose by human hunters. However, of the ten recommendations made by this report, no where does it make this recommendation outright. Unfortunately, not having a #8220;wildlife management#8221; background, I have only a limited understanding of this report. However, I assume that politicians, government employees and involved Alaskan residents justify the killing of wolves with this information derived from such reports. This coupled with a view that human needs should come before all else is a very difficult thing to surmount. Are there holes we can poke the argument ostensibly based on facts? If there really is a lack of moose and this threatens the wellbeing of locals, then some serious creative problem solving needs to happen to address the needs of locals and while avoiding the senseless slaughter of hundreds of wolves. When one group of people needs a resource that another group of people is using, ideally we don#8217;t endorse the murder of one group over the other. Wolves and moose have been coexisting for tens of thousands of years. The modern human population is the most obvious interlopers in this equation. I don#8217;t believe that Native American groups enacted vast killing #8220;programs#8221; of competing predators to ensure the availability of their resource animals. You would think that with all of our creative thinking and technology we could come up with a more intelligent and less barbaric solution than chasing down wolves in airplanes and shooting them. I would like to volunteer to ask travel agencies to boycott travel to Alaska this summer.

Gordon, The wolves do not belong to the lower 48 states, nor do they belong to the state of Alaska. The wolves belong to themselves, and they should be left alone to live freely. Yes, wolves kill moose for food, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is anthropomorphic of you to judge them for doing so. If you spent more time on this Web site before you made your comment you would know that Friends of Animals doesn't "have the idea that people can eat beef". Friends of Animals does not call "beef" food, we call it flesh from a dead cow. No ones heritage or traditions give them the "right" to eat whom they want. Just as no one has the right to eat another human, they do not have the right to eat a moose or a cow. In Alaska moose are "managed" as "livestock", which makes the consumption of moose in Alaska little different than the consumption of cattle raised on public lands in the western United States. Wherever wolves exist, whether it is in Alaska or the lower 48, they are killed to protect livestock interests. Killing wolves so that people can consume other animals is an obscene practice that must come to an end.

Danial, Sorry dude but your wacked to say that it is obscene practice for humans to eat meat, that has been going on for 1000 of years just like the wolves do, where the hell do you thing you came from, you are just animal also, you crawl on your belly intill you evolved further up the food chain. Have a great day and please keep you and your plant eating friends out of Alaska, we like being animal and eating meat. Life is good P.S. I am not the one that said the wolves did not belong to Alaska your leader is the one to claim that they did not belong to Alaska but to the lower 48 states.

Gordon, What I wrote was, “Killing wolves so that people can consume other animals is an obscene practice that must come to an end.” I agree with you when you write that humans are animals. What I don’t agree with is that humans should be allowed to dominate, suppress, destroy and consume every other sentient being and every remaining scrap of nature. You write about evolving “further up the food chain.” What an arrogantly unscientific notion; as if evolution involved some kind of linear, hierarchal progression with humans at the top. Charles Darwin wrote, “It is absurd to talk of one animal higher than another.” The other animals of this world exist for their own purpose. They did not evolve to be resources for human to harass and consume. While the consumption of other animals has gone on for thousands of years so have wars, slavery, rape, homicides and other forms of violence. It is time for humans to strive to overcome such violent tendencies. Mohandas Gandhi stated that the greatness of a nation and its moral progress could be judged by the way it treated other animals. Friends of Animals agrees, and we believe Alaska’s public policy of shooting wolves from aircraft to make moose hunting more convenient is a national disgrace. P.S. Actually, Gordon, what Priscilla wrote was, “Wolves in Alaska don’t belong to Alaska’s human residents anymore than they belong to others in the Lower 48; wolves deserve to be left alone.” Read the sentence again; because she is saying the wolves of Alaska *don’t* belong to the residents of Alaska, *nor* do they belong the humans in the lower 48.

I'm afraid I cannot read the postings from the subsistence and Native writers trying to justify the wolf massacres any longer without injecting some reality. First, when I arrived here in Fairbanks 36+ years ago I came with a great deal of respect for both groups. I felt they knew the land, the wildlife and must have immense respect for both for sharing such an intimacy of existence. Over the years I have seen how that has changed. The Native corporations now sell off logging, mineral, gas and oil rights as fast as possible without regard to environmental considerations. The profits go back to their Native members who have the power to stop such sales...but don't. With federal subsidies, free medical care, corporation dividends and the annual PFD check it's no wonder villages abound in snowmobiles and ATV's costing several thousands of dollars each. The maintenance and fueling of these machines is no small cost, either. I won't say village life is inexpensive; I know better. But it is the choice of each villager to live where they do and that is in full awareness of the attendant costs. If you want the lowered costs of city life, move to the city. If you want the enrichment of living in the wilderness then live with the cost and stop trying to "manage" the wildlife in some obscenely skewed fashion. When I read the allusions to this grand knowledge of their surroundings some of these writers have submitted I am reminded of the inhabitants of McGrath. Lifelong residents in this small hotbed of anti-wolf sentiment gave heartrending testimony on how the local moose population was down to less than 900 animals in the late 90's. They further added how the wolves were the primary killers of the moose calves. Then Fish and Game did some proper surveys and found not 900 moose but 2700. They also found that wolves take about 5% of the calves while grizzly and black bears account for the vast majority of predation on them. Some "intimate knowledge", eh? It once was that the Native population was taught a respect for wildlife, a respect that included wolves, bears, coyotes, etc. Anymore, though, judging from these writings and letters in local papers that respect has died out and it is impossible to tell from the contents whether it is a Native or non-Native writing the anti-wolf letters. Most amazing is the constant Native support for the Alaska Outdoors Council, a group strongly in favor of wolf slaughter and composed mainly of non-Native recreational hunters and trappers. It's amazing because this same group pretty much singlehandedly has killed any subsistence preference in game allotments. Kinda like supporting the hand that beats you. As for the subsistence writers, gol, but you can whine better than a hungry pup! When I hunted caribou and sheep (before I got sick of the unjustified killing) I knew if I didn't get what I was after it was simply because I didn't hunt well enough. I didn't come back emptyhanded and immediately start ranting and raving about the wolves taking everything. I knew that hunt the game was smarter or more aware (or both) than I. The sheep, the caribou, the moose were out there; I just wasn't finding them and that was my fault. Now it's fashionable to complain that the predators are at fault as though every subsistence hunter is a modern Leatherstocking. Bull! I've heard more BS from such folks at Board of Game testimony meetings than you could hear from a gaggle of politicians. If you can't find'em, you're just not hunting well enough and that's the reality you choose not to face. It's ironic, though. As an amateur paleontologist with a strong history (and 30 years' experience) in collecting Pleistocene fossils I enjoy a perspective on predators and their prey that goes back 50,000 years in Alaska. Moose, caribou, bison, mammoth, sheep, elk, wolves, bears, coyotes, wolverines, foxes, and many other species co-existed for tens of thousands of years without any problems. The biomass of the bison herds alone constituted a third of the ecology and that of horses another third. With saber-tooth cats, lions, dire wolves, short-faced bears (which dwarf brown bears) and other major predators in relative abundance the prey populations remained massive. It isn't until the advent of humans into Alaska that sudden die-offs begin to happen. The question is unresolved as to whether they caused it, changing climate and vegetation caused it, or a combination. Fact remains, though, once humans enter the picture things change and not for the better. Still, the Native population was never large enough to really dent the surviving species...until non-Natives and guns, modern trapping tools and "wildlife management" came into play. Now, it seems wildlife is to be managed for the ultimate purpose of being killed and no other view is to be considered. When I came to Alaska there were less than 300,000 residents. Now there are 650,000+. Doubling the hunters with modern rifles, increasing greatly those with riverboats, ATV's, planes, snowmachines (which are pretty much ubiquitous) leaves few areas where wildlife can go undisturbed or unhunted. Even Denali National Park allows limited hunting and trapping in some of its acreage. The problem isn't the natural predators who have lived in balance with their prey over the millenia. The problem is in the shortsighted humans who can't see beyond their gunsights or scopes to understand the havoc they are wreaking with each passing year demanding more moose so they have to work less, more caribou so they don't have to walk more than 20 feet to find one, more trapping so they can sell their birthright to ensure Lower '48 millionaires don't freeze while in their limos. Traditional values? Respect for the land and the animals? Sorry. Not when the dollar signs are crowding the horizons. That brings us to the boycott. I'm sorry to have to say this, but it is largely ineffective. The reason is simple. The folks in the Lower '48 sending thousands of letters, emails, postcards do not vote up here. Murkowski sees only two things: dollar signs and votes. Without the power of the latter the former is the only other tool and until there are demonstrable cancellations amounting to a tourism loss in the hundreds of thousands of dollars (and not just notes saying you won't visit) ol' Uncle Frank is just going to laugh. He understands only those two aspects of the situation. This past year tourism enjoyed one of its best years in Alaska. It is our second biggest source of revenue. You want to change his thinking, then swallow the non-refundable deposit and cancel the trip you have made, telling your travel agent to be sure to let Murkowski know what it has just cost Alaska. Enough of you do that and then, and only then, will he listen and stop the massacre. Until that happens, all the howl-ins and writings will mean nothing to him. I truly wish that was not the case but it is. For now, those efforts are just items of derision in Alaska because they carry no real dollar impact. Ya gotta put your money where your mouth is, eh? (PS: I wish you luck on the legal actions, however, I have a feeling the Alaskan courts are somewhat biased and with Bush still in the White House you know the federal courts are useless. Still, I hope you can find a legal hook by which to hoist Murkowski and his wolf-killing cowards by their little petards!)


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