Story Last modified at 8:34 p.m. on Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Aerial wolf hunting is not the solution
I was dismayed to learn that the Alaska Board of Game reportedly continues to use aerial hunting to control wolves and bears as a way to increase ungulate populations for hunters. Gunning down wolves or any animal from helicopters is exceedingly cruel. Many animals who are shot from the air are merely wounded, and their deaths can be slow and painful. In addition, aerial hunts create panic and terror, and the mass killings tear apart families, leaving young and weak animals vulnerable to starvation, dehydration, and predators. Such cruelty is unacceptable by any standard.
Aerial hunting and other lethal methods of animal control are also ineffective. As long as the areas of concern remain attractive and accessible to these animals, more will move in from surrounding areas to fill the newly vacant niche. In addition, gunning down pack members can result in a spike in the food supply and prompt remaining females to breed, causing the population to increase.
As a concerned citizen, I expect the Alaska Board of Game to keep Alaska's residents and animals safe by choosing humane wildlife-control methods instead of cruel ones. Since nonlethal alternatives to aerial hunting are effective and affordable, there is no reason to gun down animals from helicopters.
I respectfully urge you to halt any plans to use aerial hunting to control animal populations. Instead, please explore long-term wildlife management methods that are more effective and humane.
Editor's Note: The wolf shot on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Jan. 12 was not shot from a helicopter, rather from land (" 'Problem' wolf shot on base," Jan. 20, Page 1). It was identified as one in a pack of wolves that has shown aggressive behavior toward humans and pets in the past months. This letter regards Alaska Board of Game procedures.
This article published in The Alaska Star on Wednesday, January 26, 2011.