Nature wolf

Published on March 18th, 2009 | by Alex Felsinger

65

Alaska to Kill Over 75% of Wolf Population in New Aerial Hunt

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March 18th, 2009 by


Alaska abruptly resumed shooting wolves from helicopters this weekend in hopes that shooting the wolves will increase the population of caribou for hunters to kill. The state plans to kill up to 328 wolves, sparing under 100 in the Yukon area.

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Not everyone in Alaska is gung-ho about the plan. The National Park Service has been collaring wolves for a two-decade-long study tracking predator-prey relationships, and now many of those wolves are bound to turn up dead.

>>UPDATE: Defenders of Wildlife has taken legal action to stop the hunt.

“They [the state] have a mandate to provide for maximum sustained yield. They want to provide more moose and caribou for people to harvest,” said Greg Dudgeon of the park service. “Our mandate is to manage and provide for healthy populations of wildlife. So we don’t place the value of a wolf over a caribou, or a caribou over a moose.”

The state hopes to increase the caribou population from 40,000 to 100,000. Dudgeon said the goal is outrageous because the animals haven’t been that populous since the early 20th century.

Defenders of Wildlife, a wildlife conservation group that has vocally opposed aerial hunts, said they worry that the wolf population estimates are smaller than in reality, meaning it’s possible that only a couple dozen wolves could survive the cull.

“The Palin administration and the Board of Game are acting with complete disregard for scientific wildlife management,” said Wade Willis, Defenders of Wildlife’s Alaska representative. “It is unprecedented for such a wholesale slaughter to take place, especially when it is based on such shoddy science and when it includes wolves that have been collared by the National Park Service for scientific study.”

The wolf hunt rings similar to the sea lion cull currently underway in Washington and Oregon. The sea lions are being trapped and killed because they eat a small portion of endangered salmon and instead of cutting the commercial fishing salmon quota, the states decided to kill sea lions for the second year in a row.

[Via LA Times]
Photo Credit: dobak on Flickr under Creative Commons license.

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About the Author

is primarily concerned with animal welfare, wildlife conservation, and environmental justice. As a freelance writer in San Francisco, he leads a deliberately simplistic and thrifty lifestyle, yet still can’t help gawking at the newest green gadgets and zero-emission concept cars.



  • AlaskanPete

    You realize that the “hunters” who kill the caribou are subsistence villages, right? They’re protected by federal law and live with an extremely low carbon footprint. They’re the native Alaskan population who have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years before the russian settlers back in the 1800′s.  You guys think they’re a bunch of eskimos in igloos but they are very kind and humble people who live out a very admirable life. They have a huge appreciation for nature, and reflect that through their lifestyle, which is very respectful to the local environment. They live without consumption unlike straw environmentalists who bitch and moan about matters they don’t even understand beyond an article on a special interest group’s website.

  • AlaskanPete

    You realize that the “hunters” who kill the caribou are subsistence villages, right? They’re protected by federal law and live with an extremely low carbon footprint. They’re the native Alaskan population who have lived in the region for tens of thousands of years before the russian settlers back in the 1800′s.  You guys think they’re a bunch of eskimos in igloos but they are very kind and humble people who live out a very admirable life. They have a huge appreciation for nature, and reflect that through their lifestyle, which is very respectful to the local environment. They live without consumption unlike straw environmentalists who bitch and moan about matters they don’t even understand beyond an article on a special interest group’s website.

  • http://Web christine

    why do they want to kill the wolves? is it because they want more caribou to live, so they could kill them too? There a lot of wolves that are endangered now and we can’t convince those aerial hunters to stop killing them. Nature should take care of itself, and those hunters don’t get anything out of their “recreational hunting”.

    • Dallas

      have u ever lived in alaska… i do i live in the bush area to. wolves are starting to over populate. The caribou are scarice around here and thats what a lot of us people survive on now and wolves are everywhere around town. they kill your dogs or any pet outside if you dont watch them. Just last night i was outside and i can hear them howling and yelping just right out behind my house. yea arieal hunting should be legalized but not just for hunting but predator control and the saftey of this comunity and the future generations. =because numerous people in my comunity have either seen one or hit one with there car because there that close to town. so learn some facts before you start saying its good or bad because urr not the ones dealing with the wolf problems

  • http://Web Rob

    I think some people need to read “Never cry wolf” Canada sponsered a year long wolf study (due to complaints of diminishing caribou)and it turns out that the wolves don’t vote so politics really aren’t the issue. Also turns out that healthy caribou run faster than wolves which means the wolves mostly kill the weak, small, and sick animals (you know, the ones that all hunters want to take), thereby making the herd stronger. If not convinced, fine. lets pretend that the wolves are decimating the herd. Well then how could their numbers be high? If they are wiping out their food supply, then they would wipe out their own population.

  • http://Web AkHunter

    Since you people know absolutely nothing about wolves it would seem only right to oppose aerial hunting. The “big bad wolf” that is personified as a noble dog is one of the only animals on the planet that enjoys killing. If we let thier population grow the decimate all living things in the woods eating only a portion of what they kill. Be weary the things the liberal democrats say about fish and game in Ak because we recently voted them all down from positions of power :). In Ak we are legal to take 10 wolves a year and in some areas that’s not nearly enough, so we use aerial hunting by predator control teams in areas where the wolves have killed everything. If you want to experience first hand the beauty and majesty of wolves, fly up here sometime and walk really really far into the woods. I would recommend not bringing a weapon and maybe sprinkling a little hamburger meat in your hair. Have a nice day!

    • http://Web Peter

      You’re full of sh!t. “One of the only animals that enjoys killing”. Humans are far worse. Hunters killing wolves just to increase the population of another animal to KILL them as well? How many species of animal are endangered because of Hunters or whalers or fishermen? Plenty! How about we go and shove the hunters in the forest and shoot them from helicopters?! Let’s see if that makes a freaking difference in population!

  • http://Web donna

    why are prople killing tge collerd wolves in alaska is that illegal .the wolfs are still endagered.whats the use of killing 75 pecent of the wolfs .the wolf hunt for food and nthey kill other animals is nature

  • alexa

    did anyone hear about the pups, den tracking?it makes me sick, and f**k those dam arial hunters, they just dint have the balls to go and face them on the grownd, get off your asses, your not salving anything you gun happy morons.
    excuse the language, this is a very dificult topic.

  • alexa

    ralph seriosly?
    you do know why they want to kill the wolves right? to kill more elkand caribou. the eco sistem would compleatly crash if the popuation was left to grow, and grow, and grow…wolves help the environment. go lupiens!

  • alexa

    i get that alaska needs more carebou, but if the carabou hurds are desimated we shouldnt blame the wolves, there is a lot of people who come from out of state and kill carabou, many or then are trophie hunters, and the amount that people alowed killed is just not resanable. how can we not expect that there would be a drastic decreas in carabou? the wolves have been at this number forever, and changing this is only going to make it worse. they where there first, we are the ones who are over populated.

  • alexa

    nice jackie!
    i completely agree, if you know anything about the natrural balance, you will see that nature takes care of its own, when the preditors become over populated the herbivores go down and the plant life thrive. then the preditors go down, then the herbivore go up and the plant life goes down. its all a very delicut balence and if we keep screwing with it its going to be our butts. wolves are my favoret animals as well and wolf at the door? who says there isnt anything you can do? im letting my town know about this bill, im putting up posters explaining it, if your lazy thats fine, but this needs to be done.

  • deniro11

    maybe they should shot the scum bags who make these laws they our sick these creatures are natural hunters so you want to kill them so man can kill more caribu how stupid is this I hope a wolf finds your ass walking down the road you scum bag and that it goes after you

    • http://Web donna

      i agree wolf are natural hunters. so humankind what to destroy nature again.nature takes care pof their own, if the wolfs that are collerd abeing killed why. they are being studied. humakind has made may animals near extict , plus wolves asre still on the endagered species list. by the way wolves are my favorite animals to. i think they are gogous and cool. those aerial hunters should be arrested for murder of wolfs

  • Saher

    This is totally inhumane and sick. They don’t use their minds, that the problem. And then they blame the kids by telling us we don’t use our brains. Who know what KIDS ARE SMARTER THAN SARAH FRIKIN PAILIN. The world is smarted than her. The world would be better off if she went to Mercury and burned up.

  • Mild Colonial Boy

    Yeah, This is just wrong. I cannot afford a helicopter. How can I compete with this. The state should have a lottery drawing so everybody gets a chance at shooting one from a helicopter.

    Seriously, why is this so hard to figure out? The world isn’t a frikken zoo. If you don’t like hunting or killing animals don’t eat. I didn’t say ‘don’t eat meat’ because every process that produces food kills some animals. So go throw red paint on a bunch of grandmothers or break into somebody’s store to make yourselves feel empowered. What fucking hypocrites.

  • Lynn Cordell-Frisby

    Absolutely ridiculous ….. these people should be shot ….. not the Wolves!

  • Kat

    Thats horrible. there people just like you and me they have lives and children too.

  • karen

    My question is have there been any attacks by the wolves on people?? If so I may be able to understand this, if not this is absolutely horrible. They are also planning to kill wolves in Idaho as well. if you go to this site we can hopefully help stop this before it starts.https://secure.defenders.org,
    http://action.defenders.org/site/PageServer?pagename=savewolves_homepage

  • http://planetsave.com/blog/2009/03/18/alaska-to-kill-over-75-of-wolf-population-in-new-aerial-hunt/ Sicktomystomack

    And of course, Alaska’s chief bimbo with be leading the parade.

  • Cassy Brent

    Population control!? How dare u say that! look at human kind. we are WAY out of control! but the animals dont come for us and kill us to “Keep the population right”! Im not saying, oh kill us all!, im just saying, come on world, seriously before talking smack on others, we should think and take action for ourselves. maybe not have as much babies! damn horndogs!!!

    Cassy Brent

  • Cassy Brent

    Fuck alaskans!

  • Cassy Brent

    I love wolves. They are my favorite animal in the world. Why the hell would they do that. that is SO stupid! If u disagree with me, ur fucked up. Go ahead. tell me what u think!

    cassybrent@ymail.com

  • Ralph

    You stupid idiots!!! Do you have any idea what wolf over population does to the poor innocent deer and elk??? Where is your bleeding liberal hearts for the slaughter of innocent prey that the wolves hunt down and kill for ” sport only “??? Have you seen this: http://www.saveelk.com/

    Just remember this: ” if you’re not a liberal when you’re 20 it’s because you have no HEART. If you’re not a conservative when you’re 40 it’s because you have no BRAIN “.

  • Nicole

    Aerial hunting is cruel. I undersand there needs to be a population control but there are many ways to work with the population besides killing them. It would be nice if we could go about things scientifically and peacefully, instead of being so uncaring and wasteful.

  • John

    I can’t really make a difference but someday the world will lose all wildlife and humans will probably live on fake processed food if this keeps happening.

    Wolves are very beautiful creatures and they have rights like any other animal! Humans came from apes (i think) so we were probably were mindless to begin with! I guess those hunters still don’t have a mind to understand logic!!! there is no logic in the whole killing animals to kill more animals, sure surviving is OK and wolves kill prey and don’t eat all of it but we stuff our faces rather than eat enough to get through the day, fat asses!

  • John

    very sick and unreasonable way of dealing with a situation! and I live in U.S.A.!!!! I wanna move to Canada!!!!! Killing wolves to get caribou, idiots, it’s not like you kill a wolf and a caribou just comes falling right out of the sky! seriously, mindless! also I’m using my rights so no arresting.

  • Emily

    I remember when I first heard Palin was shooting wolves from airplanes. I thought “What a gutless coward”. I live in California, and we no longer have the Grizzly Bear, the animal that is on our STATE flag! Leave the wolves alone! The wolves HELP the Caribo and deer populations, as they ALWAYS take down the older or sicker animals. ARE the hunters going to do that? No, they will take ones in the PRIME of life, thus making the herd less strong.

    Maybe Palin should have an airplane chase her…see how she likes it…dumb broad.

  • Bubba Billy

    We need to trap those wolves ans repopulate the states with them. Thousands could be shipped here. Most people have never heard the beautiful howl of the wolf.

  • jr

    Hey its a good idea. after all sportsman finance over 75% of wildlife habitat managment. tree huggers are well under 10%. so untill you shallow minded fools decide to put your money where your mouth is maybe you should shut up!!

  • Concerned

    “Defenders of Wildlife, a wildlife conservation group that has vocally opposed aerial hunts, said they worry that the wolf population estimates are smaller than in reality, meaning it’s possible that only a couple dozen wolves could survive the cull.”

    Um writer, read what you just wrote again. “population estimates are smaller than in reality”, I think thats the exact opposite of what you are trying to say. You are saying that the reality is in fact probably LARGER than the estimates. Should I believe anything in this article? In any case this is completely retarded. Obviously, Alaska is run by some sub-human culture.

  • meadow

    I am also completely weary of testosterone insecure yahoos hiding behind the conservation mantle to justify their brutality and prop up their egos.
    I live in the southwest which should be home to the small species of Mexican wolf. But there are only about 50 of these animals in the wild over an area of millions of acres in the Gila region of AZ and NM. Even with such a tiny population, you should hear people screech about how they’re killing all the elk and cattle. Its preposterous and tragic. The sad truth is that the number of wolves these morons would like to have is zero. An earlier post mentioned to help by donating to the NRDC. I second that and add Defenders of Wildlife to that list.

  • ak trapper

    thats how you animal right people roll you take a statistic and bend it to fit your needs so all these tree huggers send you money. These areas have populations of moose that are being desimated by wolves. Many people in alaska depend on moose to survive as they don’t have the income, or in bush areas there are no stores. wolves kill moose and leave them sometimes never eating them.people need moose to survive so i say cut down the wolves numbers.

  • http://planetsave.com/blog/2009/03/18/alaska-to-kill-over-75-of-wolf-population-in-new-aerial-hunt/comment-page-3/#comments jessica

    wtf? so many intense arguments and people hating people they have never met. How about we all keep our own seperate opinions to ourselves instead of acting like children and arguing for no reason? everyone arguing about it on an online website is not going to solve anything. why is it that i am probably the youngest person to post a comment on here but i am the only one that sees how absolutely pointless it is to be arguing like you are?

  • paul

    Typical animal activists lies. There are over 10,000 wolves in alaska today. Way to many. The headline says 75 % to be killed. Not true. In a single game area where wolves are very very overpopulated a larger percentage will be culled. The populations of moose and caribou are being decimated by out of control wolf herds. One wolf can kill 60 caribou a year.Hopefully area shooting and trapping will spread to yellowstone park where out of control wolf numbers are decimating the elk and moose there. Native alaskans depend on moose and caribou to feed themselves and their dogs. Fat liberals sitting on their couches in encino do not know the facts.

  • racl

    SPARING ONLY 100!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Humans are idiots…(im not human) im a native.
    I DONT KILL WOLVES>>>>>>>>

  • karen daschko

    Is that why humans have an ongoing war happening all over the world please justify the slaughter of these wolves so humans can have a larger number of caribou to kill for themselves! I do not agree!

  • http://??dontknowwhatyoumean kaaren daschko

    Just because humans cannot figure out their issues in their (our) lifetime, does not mean that we should mess with the animal world, does it?????

  • Them

    All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must seem inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.

    To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy’s resistance without fighting.

    He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign.

    If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.

  • Brad

    It is not just Alaska we have Idaho and Montana. Can’t wait till they allow hunting licenses for hunters and idiot governors. lol. Why don’t they just move back to the cities if they don’t appreciate the wilderness states in which they live. Pretty soon they will kill all the wildlife and bulldoze the wilderness to make their state a giant parking lot. Who are they to decide what are children and grandchildren see. Boycott these states. Palin will never see the White House. Stop stupid people.

  • Jackie

    Oh. and “Emperor Bob”.

    You’re an idiot.

    “Prudent game management requires predator control to preserve healthy game and prey.” How the F**K do you think the food chain survived before humans started getting overinvolved? WE are the ones F**king it up, not the wolves. They’ve lived in healthy balance with their prey for years and years. Hunters like Palin are throwing it out of whack.

    “Live in fear of wolves”? Please.

    “STFU about something you know nothing about”- and I’m assuming you’re the expert, CLEARLY.

    I won’t even justify your senseless and misguided commentary with a reply of any substance. That’s just a little taste of how ridiculous you sound.

  • Jackie

    sorry the autocorrect thing keeps making Palin “plain”

  • Jackie

    “Wolf Counter”, even though you were mistaken in your comment, whether it is 2% or 75%, it’s disgusting and there is no excuse for it.

    I hope Sarah Plain gets snipered down by one of her own helicopters, with no chance to defend herself like those helpless wolves. They have approved the use of gas to kill wolf pups in their den. Absolutely sickening. Makes me ashamed to call myself human.

    Please check out these sites FOR MORE INFORMATION, and HELP the NRDC in their fight against Plain by making a small donation (even $1 helps) or writing to Palin on their site.

    http://www.savebiogems.org/wolves/
    http://www.eyeonpalin.org/

  • lin robbins

    How absolutely tragic. This aerial hunting is beyond the definition of cruel and inhumane. How very, very sad and unnecessary.

    Humans are not the only species to inhabit this planet.

    Enough killing. Enough senseless bloodshed.

  • wolfguy25

    First off I love the wolves, they are my favorite animal, and for sara palin to order something like this, is FUCKING stupid!! I think that she needs to get off her high horse, and look at what the hell she is doing to these beautiful animals. This has to stop now before there won’t be any wolves left to save.

  • Bob Dorgan

    Palin, and her wildlife “management” team want to eliminate all but 100 wolves so as to make way (hopefully) for a 100,000 heard of caribou; which btw havn’t existed since the turn of the last century. Looks like the in charge people of Alaska should take a few more management courses, or at least take arithmetic 101 over again.

  • A Wolf at the Door

    You know, with blogging left as one of the few forms of information sharing thriving in this media environment, which seems to prefer subjectivity and fact manipulation to real journalism, i would really hope that we could put aside our emotional charge and have an amicable discourse. I mean really, who starts their contribution to a conversation with “You are all ignorant fools?” Passion is the most limited resource left, mostly due to its misplacement; let’s not further waste it.

    With that said, this is clearly a serious issue and a step backwards in environmental conservation. After tens of thousands of wolves were slaughtered in New York State in the early 20th century, the deer population became far too great and threatened mass deer starvation, causing slaughter to once again become the “only humane option.” I for one am tired of hunting being disguised as environmental protection (although in some cases i may concede it is legitimate to make this claim.)

    Honestly, I don’t even know what I’m doing right now, I’m overall just as uninformed and pathetically lazy as the next guy. If anyone has a potential solution to the problem, I’d be glad to hear it. For the mean time, it’s no use for me to continue complaining about a problem that I’m too much of a lazy bastard to actively put effort into solving (although it doesn’t seem like i would have to faculty to do so anyways.)

  • russ

    This is one site I certainly will not bother to stop at again – silly garbage written with equally silly comments.

  • Niraj

    Sarah Palin makes McCain look like Obama. What her administration has done to the Alaskan environment and its animal inhabitants is criminal.

    We need to do something about this.

  • parrotgypsy

    this is a brutal way of killing in the name of hunting. you talk of the yukon area. does that mean they’re killing wolves from yukon canada too?

  • nickycrypt

    Wolf Counter – you are a moron and should take your own advice on research, especially when considering your “source” is such a highly regarded ecological survey as wikipedia! What’s clear is you’re an asshole.

  • Michael O’Keeffe

    “Let’s see any of you idiots live in Bush Alaska and have to compete with Bears and Wolves for your food. Let’s see you live in fear that Wolves will come after you, your children, or your pets.”

    See that attitude is just sad. And pretty ignorant, because there are lots of people living in the Alaskan wild – people that know what they are doing, that respect and understand the wildlife. It’s All these yahoo weekend warrior wannabees, move up to the last great wilderness, bringing their suburban American dream to the Yukon, and then proceed to decide it’s too wild, they are afraid of wolves, when they simply don’t know what they are doing and shouldn’t be out there in the first place.

    Take the people out in Colorado – they’ve moved out into the mountains to be one with nature, but they don’t like the coyotes on their manicured lawns.

    In Wisconsin, they are actually bring back wolves because of deer overpopulation is causing issues where the suburbanites living in the wild don’t like the deer eating their rose bushes. And then there is the issue of DWD, such that, on top of the regular hunts, the DNR has to cull additional deer.

    So the wolves are an important part of the ecosystem, just like sharks. Scary, but the imbalance is the hunters, not the wolves, and Alaskans, unfortunately, may discover that too late.

    If they want more Elk, stop shooting ‘em. Sounds like greed plain and simple.

  • http://emperorbob.com Emperor_Bob

    You are all ignorant fools.

    If left unchecked, the wolf population would grow until they depleted the food supply (Moose and Caribou). Once they over kill the resource, they would begin to die off, allowing the Moose and Caribou population increase again over time. Prudent game management requires predator control to preserve healthy game and prey.

    Let’s see any of you idiots live in Bush Alaska and have to compete with Bears and Wolves for your food. Let’s see you live in fear that Wolves will come after you, your children, or your pets.

    I dislike Palin as much as anyone, but this is one thing she has got right. You all should just STFU about something you know NOTHING about.

  • eonsaway

    Is being human killing wolves? Just what is the definition of human beings? Are we so threatened by a beautiful animal concerning over populating, we don’t do that do we.

  • eonsaway

    So sad we humans are supposed to be human, just what is the definition of being human?

  • Alex Felsinger

    “Wolf Counter”

    It clearly says in the first paragraph that these are the wolves in the Yukon area, not the whole state or country. Sorry if that was misleading, but they are indeed killing off 75% of this particular population of wolves. Obviously there are more than 400 wolves in the state/country/world.

    -Alex

    • mason king

      Thanks Alex these tree huggers think they know way too much, it is funny reading some of their posts. Wolves can be trouble in rural areas and kill off caribou, but maybe they all think alaska is some kind of zoo.

  • Anonymous

    Fuck Alaska.

  • Sally Johnston

    So kill animals to provide more animals to kill?
    That’s just cruel and sickening.
    Especially hurting such a beautiful species.
    Sarah Palin is a sick, sick person.
    The only white house she’s qualified to occupy is an igloo.

  • Alex

    What else do you expect from a state whose people would elect Sarah Palin to run the place? “Let’s kill a load of animals so humans can come in and kill a load of other animals.” Pathetic.

  • Wolf Counter

    Yo man, you clearly have no idea what you are talking about. I don’t know where you got that 428 number from, but according to Wikipedia, there are 7500 to 11000 wild wolves:

    (http://www.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/11/05/alaska.wolves.reut/index.html)

    According to cnn.com, there are 15000:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mackenzie_Valley_Wolf

    That would reduce the percentage killed from 75 to well below 2. Seriously, man, at least do a tiny, tiny bit of research before writing your posts.

  • http://nickileigh.etsy.com Nicki Leigh

    That’s absolutely terrible! Damn the hunters and their games.

  • fishfish2

    This is outrageous!!! Im sorry but whoever made that decision to KILL WOLVES so they can increase prey population so people can KILL THOSE is ridiculously stupid!! Who the hell gave them the right to mess with nature!?!?

  • peter guinta

    This is cruel and utterly absurd idea, imposed upon the world by the swinish Palin administration, I’ll bet. Few animals are more beautiful creatures than wolves. It’s just an awful cosmic joke that Alaska is run by Alaskans. If they’re not pumping oil into the bay, they’re electing religious robots and shooting whatever creatures make them a profit.
    It’s call “raping the land.”

  • brad

    this is sick
    no wonder everyone thinks america are mindless fucks with guns

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