The brutal scene unfolded in 30-second snapshots, captured in discrete moments by a motion-activated camera. Two hunters skied toward a den on Esther Island in southern Alaska and found a sow and its two newborn bear cubs. After killing all three with rifles, the hunters packaged meat from the mother in game bags, leaving the dead cubs in the snow. Two days later, they returned to retrieve the shells from their weapons and hide the cubs’ bodies.
The April 14 slaying, detailed in police reports and the Anchorage Daily News, outraged activists and environmental groups who have long protested the state-sanctioned killing of bears and wolves through extreme means. The two hunters in Esther Island were charged with breaking anti-poaching laws and hiding evidence, but Alaskan hunters have long resorted to shooting these animals from helicopters and butchering them in dens without legal consequence. Not even research subjects for government studies are spared from the dramatic rise in predator killings. The three bears on Esther Island were part of a US Forest Service study, and the sow wore a collar identifying it as a research subject. Between 2005 and 2015, hunters killed 90 wolves wearing similar collars… read the full article at Mother Jones
The dedicated folks at the Southeast Alaska Chapter of AWA have been working hard once again to bring about another season of the very popular Wildlife Wednesdays presentations. The 2018-2019 season begins on October 3, and continues through March 6th, on the first Wednesday of each month. Although the schedule does sometimes change a bit, here is how it looks now. If you live in the Juneau area, or plan to visit on any of these dates, please join us!
All presentations are free and open to the public. There will be posters around town with details of each one, as well as information on this web site.
Within the 2.5 million acres of the Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve in central Alaska, wolves and other majestic animals are protected. But animals like wolves do not respect lines drawn on a map. And a recent study suggests that efforts to limit populations of these predators outside those borders is having negative effects on wolves living within the preserve.
The study, published in June in Wildlife Monographs, suggests that when the Alaskan authorities were limiting wolf populations outside the Yukon-Charley preserve, survival rates of wolves within the preserve were lower than usual. The findings highlight the notion that managing wildlife within human-imposed boundaries requires communication and cooperation with the authorities beyond a preserve’s boundaries, and could have implications for wildlife management programs elsewhere.
“In 1994, Alaska’s Legislature passed the Intensive Management Law intended to increase populations of moose, caribou and deer and thereby provide increased harvests for hunters. Hunting organizations supported the bill that paved the way for large-scale predator control programs. The prevailing model crafted at the time by Department of Fish and Game biologists predicted that in nearly all cases, reducing wolves and bears would increase moose and caribou numbers and would ultimately benefit hunters. The Board of Game eagerly adopted this model and vigorously applied it after 2002 across a broad area of the state. Thousands of wolves and bears were killed as part of intensive management programs featuring controversial, extreme methods including public aerial shooting of wolves, gassing of wolf pups in dens, trapping bears and shooting bears from helicopters.
From the beginning, some biologists warned that managing wildlife was far more complex than simply reducing predators. We knew that predation sometimes limited prey numbers, but other factors often overshadowed predation. These included food quantity and quality, severe winters, dry summers and hunting. We stressed the importance of conducting field studies before implementing predator control, during control to monitor progress and after control to evaluate effectiveness. But some of the approved control programs lacked the necessary studies and information to justify, implement, monitor and evaluate predator reductions…
…My own analysis of statewide moose harvests before and after aggressive, intensive management showed no significant increase in harvests as a result of reducing predators. Intensive management didn’t result in larger moose harvests despite an increase of about 5,000 hunters per year on average during aggressive management programs.”