Alaska Tables Kenai Aerial Wolf Control

Home to wolves, bears, and caribou, Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula was once known for its large moose population. But a lack of natural wildfires has changed conditions on much of the Kenai, and the once-abundant willow favored by moose have been succeeded by black spruce. This loss of food and habitat, compounded by factors such as excessive road mortality and overharvest of males, caused the peninsula’s moose populations to decline. And so last spring, the Alaska Board of Game decided that something drastic must be done to prevent the further loss of moose—aerial wolf control.

The plan was riddled with problems from the beginning. Regional biologists argued that predation was not the primary factor limiting moose and that necessary baseline data needed to make an informed decision was absent. Additionally, such a program would be difficult to monitor for success. Defenders echoed this message. We have long advocated that ADF&G use the best available science to justify their controversial predator control programs in order to ensure that wolves are not killed unnecessarily. We worked with others to demonstrate the biological shortcomings of the plans as well as highlight the controversial nature of wolf control on the Kenai.

And yet despite its obvious flaws, the Alaska Board of Game not only unanimously passed the plans for wolf control during their January 2012 meeting, it asked that the finalization of the plans be expedited. It seemed the aerial gunning plan was a go. Until last week.

mooseIn a welcome turn of events, ADF&G decided that rather than rush blindly to act on the Board’s ill-conceived plans it will instead collect the information necessary to make a well-informed management decision. Our message had been heard! This is a win not only for wolves, but the thousands of visitors flock to Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula annually to hike, ski, boat, hunt, fish and view wildlife each year as well.

For now, it appears Kenai wildlife programs are on the right track. In the meantime, Defenders will continue to be a voice for science and as always, our country’s wolves.

Learn more:

Read more about how our Alaska office is helping to shape responsible policies on predator control throughout the state.

4 Responses to “Alaska Tables Kenai Aerial Wolf Control”

  1. Mary Angela Branch

    I am so pleased about the ADF&G’s decision not to to through with the ABOD’s ill conceived aerial wolf hunting in the Kenai. I wish they would cease that practice throughout all of Alaska. Hopefully this will send a message to the lower 48 that killing wolves is not the answer to other wildlife and herd losses. Gosh, could they be actually heeding sound science? My fear is that the hunting lobbyists, many of which are on the ABOD, will still push to allow this. The Kenai is one of the most visited and beautiful places in Alaska, and if they can get money there through hunters, they will. Please stay strong in the fight against this when it rears its head again. Also, please let us know who we can write to show our support of wolves.

    • joe taggart

      Hunting in Idaho for most of my life,and feeding my family on quite abit of wildgame I can not support killing any form of wildlife from the sky, its totally cowards way out of an un scientific joke on a predator that belongs in are eco system,leave the wolves alone, let them do the thing mother nature meant for them to do.

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