Category Archives: Predator Control

2/23/15: AWA and others submit emergency petition for Denali Buffer Zone

On February 23rd, The Alaska Wildlife Alliance, along with Denali Citizens Council, National Parks Conservation, and seven individual citizens, submitted an emergency petition to the Alaska Board of Game. The petition, which can be downloaded below, requests that the BOG close certain lands along the eastern Boundary of Denali National Park and Preserve to the taking of wolves.

The buffer zone, as proposed in 2012

The buffer zone, as proposed in 2012. View a larger image here.

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Wolf Wars: Alaska’s Republican governors find vicious ways to kill predators -Slate

Alaska’s Republican governors find vicious ways to kill predators and mark their territory with the feds.

from Slate.com October 31st 2014. By Krista Langlois

John Burch spent 20 years studying a family of 11 wolves. Then one day last winter, the entire pack was shot dead.

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Alert: The National Park Service needs your comment to protect Alaska’s wolves and bears!

Please help us stand with the feds to limit the state’s egregious predator control!

The National Park Service (NPS) has taken a courageous stand against the Alaska Department of Fish & Game and the Alaska Board of Game for the protection of bears and wolves. The Park Service will undoubtedly face staunch opposition from the Board of Game and rabid criticism from many hunters for its proposal to ban the following egregious predator control (killing) methods:

* baited snare sites to attract grizzly bears,
* spotlighting (to locate and then kill) denned black bears,
* shooting wolf mothers with dependent pups, and
* shooting bear sows with dependent cubs

The Park Service has proposed banning these activities on the approximately 20 million acres of land designated as “national preserves” it manages in Alaska. The Alaska Board of Game’s longstanding insistence that predator control programs apply to lands managed by the feds is a threat to the Park Service’s ability to sustain natural and healthy wolf and bear populations.

The proposed regulations would apply in the following national preserves: Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias, Glacier Bay, Yukon-Charley Rivers, Gates of the Arctic, Noatak, Bering Land Bridge, Lake Clark, Katmai, Aniakchak, and the Alagnak Wild River. (Note: “preserves” are managed in the same manner as national parks, but by law are open to sport hunting. The proposed regulations would affect the 1.3 million acres of land designated as “preserve” within Denali National Park and Preserve’s 6 million total acres.)

Please take a moment to write to the NPS to express your strong support for its proposal to ban these barbaric predator control methods. The agency desperately needs broad public support for this action, which surely will draw unbelievable fire from the well-funded and politically influential hunting organizations both in Alaska and the Lower 48.

Please show your support for Alaska’s wildlife by sending comments via e-mail or snail mail. Comments will be accepted until Dec. 3, 2014.

Email:
http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=NPS-2014-0004-0001
(You may wish to first write your comments, then paste them into the comment box provided on that page.)

Mail:
Joel Hard, Deputy Regional Manager
National Park Service
240 W 5th Ave.
Anchorage, AK 99501

Below is a sample letter. Please feel free to personalize the letter or write a comment in your own words – these can have a much greater impact than form comments. You may also use the draft of AWA’s comment letter,  and the NPS press release.

Please note: a Facebook chat on the proposal will be held later this month, and public hearings on the proposed ban will be held in locations across Alaska in October and November. We will be sending a list of these dates and times in a separate email Alert.

Thank you for supporting AWA and Alaska’s wildlife.

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Sample letter:

Joel Hard, Deputy Regional Manager
National Park Service

RE: Hunting and Trapping Regulations in Alaska National Preserves
RIN: 1024-AE21

Dear Mr. Hard;

Thank you for standing up to the Alaska Board of Game by proposing regulations to permanently prohibit snaring, brown bear baiting, use of artificial light to locate and then kill hibernating bears, taking wolves when they are with pups, and killing bear cubs and sows with cubs on our national preserve lands.

I strongly support your approval of these proposed regulations.

Such targeted killing of top predators ignores the resulting long-term and possibly irreversible negative impacts on entire ecosystems. No doubt these Intensive Management programs will eventually have a detrimental effect on the very species – primarily moose and caribou – which they seek to increase, solely for the benefit of hunters.

The NPS is directed by Congress to protect natural and healthy populations of wildlife. Manipulation of wildlife populations to benefit other species (such as those being hunted) is specifically prohibited in the NPS Management Policies, which states: “The Service does not engage in activities to reduce the numbers of native species for the purpose of increasing the numbers of harvested species (i.e., predator control), nor does the Service permit others to do so on lands managed by the National Park Service.”

I ask that you follow the above directive and implement the proposed ban on the state’s abhorrent and ill-conceived intensive management program on national preserve lands in Alaska.

Being able to see bears and wolves in Alaska’s national preserves is an experience that I want to ensure is safeguarded for my generation and those to come.

Again, I ask that you approve these proposed hunting regulations. Thank you for the opportunity to comment.
Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Address]
[City, State ZIP]

NPS announces public hearings on sport hunting proposals

The National Park Service will hold 17 public hearings this fall on proposed regulations and environmental assessment related to sport hunting in Alaska’s national preserves.

You can download the NPS press release in PDF format at the bottom of this post.

The proposals include prohibitions on taking wolf and coyote pups and adults in early summer when they den and their pelts have little commercial value; the taking of brown bears over bait stations; and the use of artificial light to take black bear cubs and sows with cubs at dens. Other procedural changes and wildlife harvest related changes are also proposed.

The in-person public hearing schedule is as follows:

October 21 Palmer Community Center, 610 S. Valley Way 3-7 p.m.
October 22 Bettles, Gates of the Arctic NP Visitor Center 4:30-6 p.m.
October 22 Denali NP, Murie Science & Learning Center, 5-6 p.m.
October 23 Healy, Tri-Valley Community Center 6-7 p.m.
October 27 Cantwell, Cantwell Community Hall 6-7 p.m.
October 27 Nome, Sitnasuak Building, Front Street 6-7:30 p.m.
October 28 Kotzebue, Northwest Arctic Heritage Center 6-7:30 p.m.
October 28 Anchorage, Lydia Selkregg Chalet,
Russian Jack Springs Park 3-7 p.m.
October 30 Fairbanks, Morris Thompson Center, 7-9 p.m.
October 30 Soldotna, Kenai Peninsula Borough Building 3-7 p.m.
November 1 Yakutat, Yak-Tak Kwaan Office 1-4 p.m.
November 5 Eagle, Eagle School 6-8 p.m.
November 5 Copper Center, Wrangell-St. Elias NP Visitor Center
(Mile 106.8 Richardson Highway) 4-6 p.m.
November 6 Tok, Tok School 6-8 p.m.
November 18 Port Alsworth, Lake Clark NP Visitor Center 6-8 p.m.
November 20 Naknek, Bristol Bay Borough Assembly Chambers 7-9 p.m.

Recent authorizations by the State of Alaska’s Board of Game have liberalized predator hunting practices in many areas. This includes national preserves, which are managed in the same manner as national parks, but by law are open to sport hunting. Liberalized predator hunting intended to manipulate natural population dynamics conflicts with National Park Service law and policy. National park areas are managed to maintain natural ecosystems and processes, including wildlife populations and their behaviors. While sport hunting is consistent with the purposes for which national preserves were established in Alaska, NPS policies prohibit reducing native predators for the purpose of increasing numbers of harvested species.

The proposed rule would not restrict federal subsistence hunting on NPS managed lands.

An informational Facebook Chat will be held beginning October 20 and running through October 31. The regional Facebook address is www.Facebok.com/AlaskaNPS. On October 21, from 10 a.m. to Noon, National Park Service staff will be available to post real-time replies to questions. On-line dialogue is not considered official public comment.

The proposed regulations would apply in the following national preserves: Denali, Wrangell-St. Elias, Glacier Bay, Yukon-Charley Rivers, Gates of the Arctic, Noatak, Bering Land Bridge, Lake Clark, Katmai, Aniakchak, and the Alagnak Wild River.

On October 27, the NPS will hold a phone-in hearing from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. where callers will identify themselves and can provide testimony which will be recorded. The toll-free number is 1-888-921-5898; callers will use 5499349# as the access code and be connected to the hearing.

DRAFT AWA comment letter to NPS supporting proposed changes to sport hunting regulations

October 30, 2014

Joel Hard, Deputy Director
National Park Service, Alaska Region
240 W 5th Ave., Suite 236
Anchorage, AK 99501

RE: Hunting and Trapping regulations in Alaska National Preserves
RIN: 1024-AE21

Dear Deputy Director Hard,

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance Mission Statement

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance is a non-profit organization committed to the conservation and protection of Alaska’s wildlife.  We promote the integrity, beauty, and stability of Alaska’s ecosystems, support true subsistence hunting, and recognize the intrinsic value of wildlife.  The AWA works to achieve and maintain balanced ecosystems in Alaska managed with the use of sound science to preserve wildlife for present and future generations.

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance fully supports your proposals to ban spotlighting and killing of bears in dens, killing wolves and bears with dependent young, and baiting and killing brown bears on preserve lands in Alaska managed by the National Park Service.

We feel that the state of Alaska’s misguided “intensive management” policies have gone way too far promoting the brutal, wanton killing of wolves, and brown and black bears on both state and federal lands.  We thank you for your proposals to end these practices on some federally managed lands.

Such targeted killing of top predators ignores the resulting long-term and possibly irreversible negative impacts on entire ecosystems. No doubt these IM programs will eventually have a detrimental effect on the very species – primarily moose and caribou – which they seek to increase for the benefit of hunters.

The simplistic management equation “fewer predators equal more moose and caribou for hunters” also conveniently ignores other important factors. Ongoing increases in harvest limits, increased access to remote areas, and habitat reduction, among other factors, can easily lead to overharvest by the most efficient hunters: humans.

In addition, “spotlighting” to kill bears in their dens, or using human-food bait to lure the bruins to snare sets or a camouflaged shooter should not be called “sport” hunting” at all. It is just killing. The same is true of shooting wolves with dependent pups and bear sows with dependent cubs. This is not “sporthunting,” it is killing for the sake of killing.

The NPS is directed by Congress to protect natural and healthy populations of wildlife.  Manipulation of wildlife populations to benefit other species (such as those being hunted) is specifically prohibited in the NPS Management Policies, which states: “The Service does not engage in activities to reduce the numbers of native species for the purpose of increasing the numbers of harvested species (i.e., predator control), nor does the Service permit others to do so on lands managed by the National Park Service.”

Only about 14 percent – a tiny minority – of Alaskans hold hunting licenses. Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of visitors, spending millions of dollars, come to Alaska each year with the hope of seeing a wild wolf or bear. Everyone – Alaskans and visitors alike – should have an opportunity to enjoy the magnificent wildlife that inhabits Alaska’s preserves, not just a few hunters looking for a quick and easy target.

Thank you for proposing these common sense conservation policies.  We urge the NPS to adopt these proposed regulations.

Thank you for considering our comments.

Sincerely,
Edward A Schmitt
Co-Director, Alaska Wildlife Alliance