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Group Calls For Boycott on Alaska After Game Officials Allow Wolf Trapping Near Denali National Park

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A decision by Alaska's Board of Game to wipe out a wolf no-take buffer zone near Denali National Park prompted a call Monday for a boycott on vacation travel to the state. There were several proposals before the board last week to enlarge a wolf buffer zone in a notch of land surrounded on three sides by Denali. Some proposals used the George Parks Highway as an eastern-most boundary, another proposed the Nenana River as a border. The Park Service proposal is in yellow, the Defenders of Wildlife proposal is in green, and the largest proposal, outlined in blue, was submitted by the Anchorage Fish and Game Advisory Committee. The purple crisscrossed area reflected the current buffer zone.

A decision by Alaska's Board of Game to eliminate a wolf no-take zone on land surrounded on three sides by Denali National Park and Preserve has prompted an animal rights group to call for a boycott on tourism travel to Alaska this year.

The Game Board voted 4-3 last week to not only reject requests to expand the existing buffer zone, but to eliminate it entirely.

There once was a proposal to turn over to the park this rectangular block of land due west of Healy, Alaska, that follows the Stampede Trail, but it never got off the ground. As a result, wolves that leave the park and follow caribou to wintering grounds on this landscape are subject to trapping in some places. There has been a buffer zone that comprises roughly half of the rectangle on the western end in which wolves can't be hunted or trapped.

The decision to do away with the buffer zone was condemned Monday by Friends of Animals.

“The state decision is obnoxious,” said the group's president, Priscilla Feral. “And it contradicts what the park authorities had asked for. Federal officials had recommended expanding the buffer zone to protect wolves naturally wandering outside the park’s boundaries.

“As long as Alaska officials thumb their noses at common sense and decency, the public should stop supporting the state," she continued in a prepared statement. "We understand this is not easy for businesses, but we need their public declaration in support of the wolves and their advocates! It’s the (state) government that’s condoning the killing of the very animals tourists go up to see.”

The existing buffer zone had covered 90 square miles, according to the National Parks Conservation Association. Packs that frequent it and which often are viewed by Denali visitors include the East Fork Pack, the Grant West Pack, and the Nenana Pack. Packs that were wiped out by hunting and trapping include the Headquarters Pack, Savage Pack, and Sanctuary Pack, according to the group's records. Not every individual of a pack must be killed for the pack to collapse. And in some cases, new packs have re-established themselves in similar territory and have new names.

Friends of Animals, a group opposed to all hunting and trapping of wolves, pressed to reinstate a 600 sq.-mile east and northeast boundary buffer similar to that established in November 1992. Instead, not only has that area shrunk, but the current Board of Game went so far as to try to control federal lands proposing wolf control inside Denali National Park.

“Don’t support Alaska,” Ms. Feral said. “Alaska’s state officials have shown a disgraceful lack of respect for nature and the ecosystem as well as the wolves themselves. Governor Sean Parnell needs to step in and control the humans who are paid by the state.”

Appended to the release was a request that those upset with the Game Board's decision write Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell to let him know they will boycott travel to Alaska because of the state’s "wolf persecution."

WRITE TO:

Gov. Sean Parnell
P. O. Box 110001
Juneau, AK 99811-0001
Email: sean.parnell@alaska.gov

Telephone: (907) 465-3500

Comments

Brought to you by the same folks who complain about mule pool on.the trails while those same mules carry their beer, steaks and Thanksgiving Turkeys to Phantom Ranch, the really clueless. Nothing personal but keep looking for the real answers.


I sincerely hope you tell all your friends to also boycott ever coming to Alaska. Most of us are so tired of you know-nothing out of staters trying to manage our state for us ... You really dont do anything but make a menace out of yourselves and just get in our way. Worry about your own state and stay the hell out of ours!

This comment was edited to remove some colorful colloquialisms. -- Ed.


Shoot the wolves and you have more moose. More moose means more wolves. Whats the problem? Or should I say problem solved!


I think governor Parnell is well aware that Alaska's game management practices are unique and not likely to be understood by the rest of the country. But the bottom line is: they work! And as long as they work they have a constitutional obligation to complete and fulfill Alaska's destiny for abundant wildlife. The fact is good wolf management increases their numbers, believe it or not. The balance that is afforded by what looks like Draconian methods to the outsider are simply an understanding that game management has failed in its mission elsewhere in the country. Along with a sensationalized, but negative look at this by the media as well as the general public's willingness to get angry first and ask questions later, we Alaskans are isolated, not only by geography but also differences in perspective. It goes with the territory. But I can assure you, no one wants to kill wolves for the sake of killing wolves. The wolf is the single most difficult predator on all of earth to track down and destroy. It is hard work, even from an airplane. But what happens is that the balance of game animals to predators rejuvenates the populations of all wildlife. This idea of letting nature take it course would be great, if man didn't exist. But since he does, it is like all things, he must take the lead and do what is right. The institutors of our constitution knew this and as a result most Alaskans have embraced this wisdom as right for Alaska. It is truly too bad that you did not come to the greatland despite some of the problems we have. Perhaps you would understand better if you did. That is after all part of visiting another part of the world. I am sure it wouldn't be any different if you visited Jamaica or Israel.


Thanks William, for your support to the wolves. I also wrote protest emails to Gov.


Anybody interested in this issue should read Aldo Leopold on the subject of Hunter vs. Predator ( wolves) and his observations as to the differences between types of control. He observed that natural predation was healthier for the food source of the deer and this in turn led to larger populations for hunters to hunt. But only if the predators had room to thrive. If the wolves are hunted to the point of struggle, the caribou & moose will overpopulate to the point of outeating their food source. At that point those populations start to face hardship due to lack of food, become weaker and more prone to disease, thereby reducing the numbers available for human use. So which path do you choose? Longterm enjoyment and sustainability, or sheer headlong stupidity?


I've been boycotting Alaska and their products for years now, ever since I first heard they were killing wolves up there. People should've been boycotting a long time ago but should be doing it now more than ever. Their game commission is one of the worst I have ever heard of and should get their priorities strait. This is the 21st century people, we shouldn't be doing things like that.


I would be interested in hearing why this decision was taken. As this is presented now I feel it is slightly biased.


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