Why Are Wolves Sacrosanct?


A ruling on Monday by U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland in Anchorage is putting the brakes on wolf-population-control efforts in Alaska.

Many people in the Lower 48 — conservatives included — don’t know what to think about wolf culling. Environmental groups have used the issue to attack former governor Sarah Palin and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG). But their decision to use aerial shooting to protect other species from over-predation made perfect sense.

The state wants to launch an emergency aerial wolf kill on a federal wildlife refuge in the Aleutian Islands, in order to save a herd of caribou that has plummeted in size from 1,200 animals in 2002 to just 250 today largely due to wolf predation. An aerial wolf kill could protect this summer’s crop of caribou calves, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) wants to study the issue further before taking action. The federal judge decided to give the USFWS the time it wants.

Larry Bell, the assistant regional director for the USFWS in Alaska, says the agency will wrap up its study by December. Meanwhile, Cindy Beamer, general manager of Isanotski Corp., which represents Alaska Native residents in the area, told the Los Angeles Times, “The wolves don’t have enough caribou to eat, [and] where the wolves are camping out, [there] now are houses that have little seven€‘ and ten‑year‑old children.”

In case you’ve bought the environmentalists’ claim that no wolf has ever killed a person in North America, think again. The most recent example: On March 11, 2010, in Chignik Lake, Alaska, wolves ran down and killed Candice Berner, a 32-year-old teacher.


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