'Alaskans For Wildlife' Protest Fish & Game Wolf Control Methods

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The group 'Alaskans for Wildlife' held a protest Thursday at the Fairbanks office of Alaska's Fish and Game, to oppose the current wolf control program.

Howling and walking through the building with signs, these residents say they want to help save wolves in the Upper Tanana area.

Alaskans for Wildlife is a group of volunteers who promote respect for wild animals in the state, especially those considered predators, such as wolves and bears.

For this particular protest, the group joined together to challenge wolf management in Alaska.

"Aerial hunting's got to go! Hey, hey. Ho, ho."

According to the Chair of the wildlife advocacy group, Jim Kowalsky, this program is inhumane and is very expensive.

"You kill over 1,000 wolves, you've been doing it for a long time, and you want another year to see how it works, this is real failure of government."

According to the Director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation with Fish and Game, Bruce Dale, one of the main purposes for this maintenance program is to help with subsistence hunting - which many Alaskan communities do heavily rely on.
When it comes to costs, research receives the most funding within maintenance programs and those funds are provided by hunting licensing fees.
If residents are concerned about the killing of wolves, he says they should know that the animal's life has a purpose after it's killed.

"First thing we do is collect any biological samples that will provide scientific information that will help us manage those species. The second thing we do is we taken any of these specimens that are usable in education programs and so we have kits that we loan to schools with things like skulls from different types of animals and fur and adaptations of those animals. Third, their hid for example, are auctioned off at the Fur Randy auction every year."

Even with Fish and Game's main message of science, protester Sean McGuire says, the Alaska Department is straying towards something else.

"This is one of the last places in the world, people can still come to see wild wolves, it's a world class resource! Caribou go up, their numbers go up, and they go down in a natural cycle. For years they've been telling us that they're using science to manage the wildlife. Actually, it's beginning to look like, it's not science it's politics so that's w3hat we're upset about and I think it's time for Fish and Game to pull the plug on this wolf killing program."

In previous year's, Fish and Game has adapted its intensive maintenance programs, changed them and is now evaluating them again.

Dale says in order to finish research on wolf populations and patterns, another year of this control program is required.