Center for Biological Diversity

Stop Aerial Gunning of Wolves on Federal Wildlife Refuge

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The state of Alaska is continuing its war on wildlife -- by trying to kill wolves from helicopters. Remote Unimak Island, in Alaska's Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, is home to the Aleutian Island chain’s only naturally occurring populations of brown bears, wolves and caribou. Caribou numbers on the island have varied drastically over the past 100 years and have recently plummeted.

Despite the fact that there is no evidence that wolves are responsible for the recent drop in caribou numbers -- which is just as likely related in part to unsustainable state-permitted trophy hunting of caribou on the island -- the state is using the drop in numbers as an excuse to kill wolves in the name of "wildlife management."

Nearly all of Unimak Island is federally designated wilderness area. A state-run and federally permitted aerial hunt in a wilderness area is unprecedented. Federal biologists admit that very little is known about either the caribou herd or the wolves on Unimak Island. It would be the height of irresponsibility to blindly massacre the wolves in the face of so much uncertainty.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency within the Department of the Interior that manages the refuge, initially refused to allow the aerial wolf hunt but now appears to be caving to state pressure. The Service has completed an environmental assessment that concludes that the state’s proposal for “predator control management on the Refuge is necessary.”

The Service is accepting comments on its environmental assessment until Jan. 31. Please act now to tell the agency it must not allow the massacre of wolves on this federal refuge and wilderness area.

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Please submit comments by January 31, 2011.

Alaskan gray wolf photo courtesy California Wolf Center.

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