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Board of Game Sued Over Wolves

Photo from Defenders of Wildlife - action.defenders.org

Photo from Defenders of Wildlife – action.defenders.org

This just in from the Alaska Wildlife Alliance. The organization has filed a complaint in Anchorage Superior Court alleging that the Alaska Board of Game failed to comply with Alaska’s Open Meetings law when the Board rejected two separate petitions requesting that it re-establish a no-trapping wolf buffer zone adjacent to Denali National Park.

The suit asks that the court void the Board’s decisions on the petitions.

The complaint alleges that for each petition the Board “failed to hold an open, announced public meeting on the subject” which includes lack of public notice and the lack of any public meeting convened either by teleconference or in person which the public could attend.

AWA sought the buffer zone to stem the decline of the Park’s wolf population, which is a major draw for Park visitors, and is vital to the local tourism industry. Wolf populations have declined significantly in the Park due in part to trapping on non-Park lands along the boundaries. The most recent official National Park Service survey (Spring 2012) found a total of only 70 wolves in nine packs in the six million acre park – one of the lowest populations in decades.

In winter Denali wolves frequently wander across the north and eastern Park boundaries in search of prey or mates. Last spring a local trapper baited, trapped and killed the alpha female of the Grant Creek Pack, the Park’s most frequently and easily viewed wolf pack, just across the Park boundary. As a result the pack did not produce pups this year, and the remaining wolves dispersed. For years the Grant Creek pack had offered hundreds of thousands of Park visitors the best, most frequent opportunities to view wild wolves.

As the November 1 start date of the wolf trapping season grew near, on September 6, AWA filed its first emergency petition to make the area off-limits to trapping to prevent the loss of more wolves. The Board of Game denied that petition via an email poll of Board members, and AWA filed a request for reconsideration on October 3. The Board denied the reconsideration request, stating that it had no procedure to consider any request that it reconsider its decisions. AWA then filed a second, revised petition on October 10, which included additional information and analysis in support of the buffer zone. That revised petition also was denied via an email poll of Board members.

A wolf buffer zone existed in the same area beginning in 2002 before it was repealed by the Board of Game in 2010.

AWA filed emergency petitions with the Board in September and October, 2012, asking the Board to re-establish a “wolf buffer zone” on state land adjacent to the eastern boundary of Denali National Park where hunting and trapping of wolves would not be allowed. The Board’s decisions on the petitions were communicated to AWA via letter from Kristy Tibbles, Executive Director of the Board of Game. She wrote that the Board’s decisions on both petitions were “…not by a meeting, but by an email poll consistent with long-standing practice on petitions for an emergency regulation when no Board meeting is otherwise scheduled within 30 days of receiving a petition.”

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Comments
9 Responses to “Board of Game Sued Over Wolves”
  1. Moose Pucky says:

    Love that photo. We so need that buffer zone. The smartest, bravest, kindest wolves in the pack are likely to be the ones to wander outside the boundaries to help secure food for the rest of the family. They really do deserve better than Alaska’s sorry Board of Game have been giving them.

  2. mike from iowa says:

    http://www.ibtimes.com/monsanto-protection-act-5-terrifying-things-know-about-hr-933-provision-1156079

    Very sorry to place this here. No open thread lately. My apologies,Jeanne.
    This bill,signed by Obama, protects Monsanto from lawsuite if and when GMO crops prove harmful to the public. Written by Monsanto and rwnj Blount of Missouri and placed in a bill to prevent government shutdown. Most Dems are supposedly unaware it was in bill they passed.

  3. mike from iowa says:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/crime/2012/12/gun_death_tally_every_american_gun_death_since_newtown_sandy_hook_shooting.html

    Way off topic,but IMO necessary. Since Newtown masacre there have been at least 3164 gun related deaths in America. Clearly we need more guns for the masses—not!

  4. mike from iowa says:

    Glad this was brought up. State of Minnesota has canceled their moose hunt scheduled for this year and are undertaking an expensive,SCIENTIFIC study(the largest,most high tech study ever done) to determine why the moose population declined from an estimated 8840 moose in 2006 to just 2760 moose this mid-winter.

    http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/volunteer/julaug08/moose.html this study done starting in 2002 followed radio collared moose(116) for seven years.. 85 moose died over the seven years and confirmed wolf kills totalled five. Trains got two. Cars got six. One died from bacterial meningitis,fifteen fell to state and tribal licensed hunters. Two were poached,five died within two weeks of being collared(stress) and the other 49 had no identifiable cause of death. This study was conducted in a limited area of the state. Check the website for more details. And tell Parnell wolves aren’t the massive moose predators he and his rwnj game board believes them to be.

  5. Zyxomma says:

    Like all environmentalists, I’m signing petitions every day (or at least every day I check my email), posting links to them on Facebook, etc.

    Wolves are not just iconic, they are necessary for healthy ecosystems. Just as sharks are part of a complete ecosystem in the ocean, wolves (or other top predators) belong on land. Certain shortsighted humans may not see their value, but I do. Great info here: http://www.wolf.org/wolves/

    Health and peace.

  6. GoI3ig says:

    Once again we look like a bunch of idiots in Alaska. Many third world countries in Africa have figured out they can make a lot more money by protecting the wildlife and “showing” the same animals over and over again as opposed to letting hunters pay to kill them.

    Parnell and he oily Juneau friends just see the short term gain of a few wolf pelts.

    As fewer people come to Denali Park, I wonder if those few pelts will seem worth it?

    • COalmostNative says:

      Yet your intelligent legislators are encouraging Magpil, a CO company that make ammo cartridges, to move to AK since Colorado passed several common-sense gun control measures: universal background checks, limits on magazine size, and no sales to domestic violence offenders. The company threatened to move before the laws passed…

      Obviously this company will contribute more to the AK economy than wolf-watching tourists. Duh.

      I have signed numerous petitions to protect wolves and other wildlife- since that business brings in way more dollars to my state, including hunters in the fall. And it’s smart stewardship to boot.

  7. Mo says:

    Just sent a thank-you contribution to Alaska Wildlife Alliance on the strength of this. Way to go!

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