Alaska OKs plan to kill wolves

Sunday, March 16, 2003

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- In an effort to increase the number of moose where villagers rely on game for food, the Alaska Board of Game voted to kill wolves and move brown and black bears from a 520-square mile area in Interior Alaska.

A national animal-rights group has pledged a tourist boycott if the state OKs the predator control program.

The goal is to increase moose numbers so hunters can harvest 130 to 150 animals a year.

"We've got a constitutional mandate and the people of McGrath are suffering right now because they don't have enough food on their table," board member Ted Spraker said.

Priscilla Feral, president of Friends of Animals, based in Darien, Conn., said was "horrified but not surprised" at the board's action Wednesday.

The group's call for a tourism boycott is on hold until Murkowski approves the program, but Feral said she hoped tourism groups would pressure him not to bring a "public relations disaster and shame to Alaska."

Paul Joslin, spokesman for the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, said the board used old data in its animal counts, and more recent figures indicate the moose population is stable, and perhaps even increasing slightly. He also questioned whether there might be other means of providing moose meat for villagers.

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