Saturday, January 23, 2010

Aerial Wolf Killing in Alaska

Alaskan wolves receive no Endangered Species Act protections, and the species has long been vilified. In the 1940s and 1950s, widespread wolf killings occurred via poisonings, bounties, and aerial shooting by federal agents. After Alaska became a state in 1959, poisoning was prohibited by legislative action and bounties were soon stopped.

Aerial shooting of wolves became common in the 1960s. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game ceased issuing aerial permits in 1972 after passage of the federal Airborne Hunting Act. The Act prohibits the shooting of wolves directly from airplanes but left legalize the practice known as "land and shoot" -- where a hunter can land a plane and shoot the animal from the ground.

Land and shoot wolf hunting remains a controversial practice and it is even opposed by many hunters. It considered unsportsmanlike, unethical, and impossible to regulate. It also leads to many other violations of hunting regulations such as chasing, herding, and harassing wolves.

Alaskan wolf shot by aerial gunner

In 1996 and again in 2000, Alaskan voters banned the practice but both times the Alaskan legislature overturned these citizen-passed laws. In 2003, the Board of Game approved several aerial wolf control programs and since then has adopted several more. Approximately 800 wolves have been killed by teams of private hunters and gunners from fixed-wing airplanes.

They rarely die fast, and are often left to suffer in agony.

So far, more than 1,000 wolves have been chased down by gunmen in low-flying aircraft and killed with high-powered rifles. This year alone, more than 250 wolves have been killed -- making the 2008/2009 aerial wolf killing season one of the deadliest in years.

The aerial killing of wolves in Alaska

Please, take action:

-- Urge Your Representative and Senators to Co-Sponsor the PAW Act:

-- Support National Wolf Recovery Plan:

To learn more and what you can do to help, please click here.

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