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Vicious: Sarah Palin's War on Wolves

September 11, 2008 | Wolves / Alaska Boycott

by Marybeth Holleman
Anchorage, Alaska

This past June, on a cool morning in southwest Alaska, fourteen wolf pups were pulled from their dens and shot in the head, one by one, by state biologists sanctioned by Governor Sarah Palin. At a month old, these pups had opened their eyes and ears less than two weeks earlier. They had ventured from the dark safety of the den once or twice. They had grown into rolling, tumbling, play-fighting puppies for whom their only care was, when would they next get to nurse?

They still depended entirely on their parents and their packs for food, shelter, protection. But every single adult member of their packs had already been gunned down from above by the Alaska state workers who shot them. These pups did nothing to deserve such a malicious early end to life other than to be born a wolf in Alaska in the era of Sarah Palin.

To most Americans in this day and age, this is atrocious. But to those of us who have watched Sarah Palin at work for the past two years, it's not at all surprising. As Governor, Palin has expanded Alaska's aerial hunting further and faster than any predecessor, since anything seen since territorial days, when all predators were targeted for extermination as worthless vermin.

I've lived in Alaska for nearly 25 years, long enough to see the on-again off-again cycles of predator control. But never has the killing of wolves and bears in order to inflate the numbers of moose and caribou been so widespread and mean-spirited as under Palin's reign.

Under Palin, private citizens kill wolves from planes under the guise of predator control. They run the wolves to exhaustion, and then shoot them. Under Palin, for the first time in 20 years, wolves are also gunned down from state-chartered helicopters. Palin authorized $400,000 in state funds for advertising to persuade Alaskans to vote against a ballot initiative that would have curtailed aerial hunting. Her propaganda was successful; the ballot measure failed.

Under Palin, for the first time since Alaska's statehood in 1958, it's legal to do land-and-shoot killing of bears and their cubs. Under Palin, predator control has spread from one to five regions of Alaska, to over 60,000 square miles, more than at any time since statehood. Nearly 800 wolves have been shot from planes, and some 2,000 are killed every year by other methods. And that's just the reported deaths. Palin even went so far last year as to put a bounty on wolves-she wanted to pay $150 for a foreleg of each dead wolf. Thanks to Friends of Animals, Alaska Wildlife Alliance, and Defenders of Wildlife, her wolf bounty was ruled illegal by the courts.

Wildlife scientists from around the country are dismayed at Palin's predator program, noting it doesn't meet the standards recommended by the U.S. National Research Council to justify, implement, monitor, and evaluate. Last year, 172 scientists wrote to Palin, warning her that if she did reach the "unsustainable historically high" moose and caribou numbers she sought, it would ecologically backfire in a huge way: not only would she put at risk the long-term health of Alaska's wolves, but of the very moose and caribou she sought to increase.

Palin would have the rest of Americans believe that this massive slaughter is acceptable, indeed necessary. She points to fifty years of statehood in which wolves have not become extinct. But the extent of the kill now far surpasses anything we've ever seen.

Even many Alaska hunters have grown outraged over Palin's out-of-control wolf control. Most recently, she's tried to give even more power to the Board of Game-the one that she appoints. This, wrote Alaska Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, would give her Board "more leeway without any scientific input to do whatever the hell they basically wanted." This program has been a true black eye for all hunters in Alaska, and for our state.
Contrary to what Palin would have Americans believe, only 14 percent of Alaskans hunt. Of those, a small percentage are true subsistence hunters. Palin wants wolves and bears scraped from the landscape so it's easier for urban hunters to get their kill in a weekend.

Don't let her fool you: Wasilla has just as many big-box and fast-food stores as any place in America, and just as many opportunities to make money to buy food. Alaskans haven't paid income tax for decades, and instead get over $1000 a year-for every man, woman, and child-in oil dividends. It's not economic necessity that drives the killing of wolves.

During Alaska's gubernatorial debates, Palin spoke with such passionate hatred about the need to kill wolves and bears that it sounded like we were thrown back into the dark ages of wildlife management, when bounties were paid for the feet of bald eagles, the fins of seals and sea lions, the skins of fox, coyote, wolf, and bear. Yes: bald eagles. They were blamed for eating too many salmon.

I was raised Catholic. I learned early on that if someone persecutes one group that's different from them, they also persecute others who are "different." It has taken the national media spotlight and her vicious statements on national stage to show Alaskans what we didn't know when Palin ran for Governor-to expose her disdain not only for non-human life, but also for those of different races, nationalities, and religions.

As a Catholic, I also learned that we have a responsibility to all living things. Not just human life, but all life. Which is, as we all now know, inextricably linked to all that we need in order to survive. Food, air, water, shelter. Safety. All that those wolf pups wanted from life. And all that was taken from them.


Scary Sarah, I was on the fence before reading this article. I was all for Hilary and when she dropped out I was so glad that McCain chose a woman running mate. After learning more and more about you I became more leary. After reading this article I am appalled. Read these responses and don't brush them off. All of these people can not be wrong. Go back to Alaska and try to make amends for the damage you have caused to our environment and wildlife. It will take MANY MANY years for Alaska to recover from your tyranous reign.

I did not know this before and she has just lost my respect and vote. I was searching for news on Alaska because my daughter and her family just moved there and that is how I found this article.I could not believe it when I seen this article. I just wanted to cry. How could someone wage a war on such a beautiful magnificant creature, just to increase the volume of another. That's like trying to play God. We have wolves in the eastern part of the midwest states too, but we can't just go out and shoot them just because they are there unless they become a life threatening nuisence and even then their are rules that have to be followed. We can sit here around our fire pit and hear them off in a distance, some have even came near. Not once have they bothered anything around here. Maybe it's the Native American Ancestry in me that makes me feel so connected to these creatures. Ellie Maldonado is right when she said "Wolves, moose, and other free-living animals do not need to be controlled by humans. If we stop imposing on their habitat, they can balance their own populations and thrive within it!" I have always been facinated by them. I agree with whomever said why hasn't the media brought out these types of things?

Sarah Palin supports the barbaric practice of aerial hunting of wolves & bears. This, despite the fact that biologists & wildlife experts call it extremely cruel & completely unnecessary and even the vast majority of Alaskan hunters oppose it due to the extremely inhumane and unfair treatment of the animals. Sarah Palin’s Administration offered a $150 bounty to any hunter who turned in the left foreleg of a wolf, until the courts ruled it “depraved cruelty”. Sarah Palin also actively opposed a ballot measure campaign seeking to end aerial hunting of wolves by private hunters and she approved a $400,000 state-funded campaign aimed at swaying people’s votes on the issue. Sarah Palin also introduced legislation to make it easier to kill wolves & bears and which would have also removed the aerial hunting initiative from the ballot so as to block the ability of citizens to vote on this issue. Sarah Palin also supports shooting bears habituated to humans (such as at the Katmai Preserve) even though the vast majority of Alaskans (even sport hunters) are opposed to this. Additionally, under Palin, for the first time since Alaska’s statehood in 1958, it’s legal to do land-and-shoot killing of bears & their cubs. Most of the public isn’t aware of Sarah Palin’s treatment of animals and should be made aware of it given the fact that if John McCain does win this election, there’s a good chance that Governor Palin will become President Palin. If Sarah Palin does become President, our nation’s wildlife and environment would suffer greatly and all that has been accomplished (to improve the lives of animals) would most likely be lost.


I'm hoping that Defenders' wolf-shooting ads will HELP open some eyes! Just in case anyone else wants to help out! I get FURIOUS every time I read about it! [Blog editors' note: Defenders has the benefit of lots of public support so they can afford their ad budget. Whether or not everyone's seen a wolf shot by hunter-pilot teams in Alaska, know that Palin makes these wolf-killing schemes possible which shames Alaska and the entire country. More than that, Palin's behavior toward bears, moose, caribou and more expresses contempt toward free-living animals. Wolves, bears and others don't belong to Palin or any state. They belong to themselves, and anyone whose home is the planet should be tuning in a host of pressing issues in the weeks ahead. In these difficult economic times, Friends of Animals is most grateful for your financial support that makes our wolf interventions possible.]

I am not to thrilled to read this...but I will look further for the facts. One person writing this article doesn't make it is appalling, and I am a McCain supporter, but if I find out the truth to this...he just lost my vote!

Sarah Palin gives all women a bad name. She believes in Right-to-life.....but not for animals?? She is a hypocrite. God help us if McCain wins this election. McCain has had cancer 4 times, I just cant imagine, what would happen if Sarah ended up as President. I have never been so afraid of the outcome of a Presidential election in my life. This is more scary than George Bush...the sad thing is McCain & Obama are close in the polls, there are a lot of ignorant people that will vote for McCain. [Blog editors' note: Sharing chromosomes doesn't mean Palin reflects on females anywhere.] Here's a link to send her an e-mail - everyone go for it! [Blog editors' note: Or people could opine to a brick wall.]

I think she should be ashamed of herself ....A Wolf and Bear hater I bet she has no heart ... How does she sleep at night I hope the souls of those dead animals haunt her for the rets of her life

I can't believe that a human being could be so heartless. Especially someone who is now in the public eye as a political candidate. This sort of thing should not be allowed: Animals should not be gunned down for no reason except that a person has a personal vendetta against them. That is not a valid reason for such torment. Soon Alaska won't be home to such creatures and will lack the natural beauty it once held in so many peoples' eyes.


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