Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

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Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by pawnee » Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:17 am

Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control
DENBY S. LLOYD -- Anchorage Daily News, 08/22/2008


There is some misunderstanding surrounding recent actions by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to protect the Southern Alaska Peninsula caribou herd.

Over the past decade, this caribou herd has declined from 10,000 animals to fewer than 600. Pregnancy rates have been good, indicating that habitat quality is not the problem. But calf survival has been extremely low, with 99 out of 100 calves dying in the first two weeks after birth. It was predation on these calves that the department sought to curtail, with approval of the Alaska Board of Game, to provide the best opportunity for the herd to recover.

To be effective, the operation was conducted with helicopters, a practice that has been controversial in the past. It was focused on those wolves most likely to be preying on caribou calves, those on the calving grounds. And it was conducted in early June to correspond with the calving season, particularly those vital first two weeks of a young caribou's life. This time is also, inescapably, when wolf pups are being weaned in their dens.

Because removal of adult wolves would leave orphaned pups to starve or be killed by other predators, and because we had no offers from zoos or other facilities to take in such pups, department biologists recognized they would need to be euthanized. Euthanasia is preferred over starvation or predation, and was done according to standards set by the state's Animal Care and Use Committee and the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Some have wondered if the department's operation was illegal, because there is a general prohibition on "denning," the killing of wolf young in the den. Approval of the plan by the Board of Game, however, recognized that all wolves in the calving area were to be killed and that the department was excused in this case from general prohibitions such as denning.

Others have wondered if the department was trying to cover up the killing of pups, because it was not highlighted in press announcements of the program. Rather, we were so intent upon making the public aware of our use of helicopter support, we didn't even think to identify the age, or sex, or characteristics other than the total number of wolves eliminated. It wasn't until weeks afterward that members of the public thought to ask.

While killing pups is unpleasant, it is part of predator control programs around the country for canines such as wolves, foxes and coyotes. These programs may be distasteful to some people, but they are implemented with specific goals in mind. For the Southern Alaska Peninsula caribou herd, as a result of this spring's program, calf survival has increased from 1 percent or less to a very substantial 50 percent, giving us hope that the herd's steep decline can be arrested.

There are longstanding Alaskans on both sides of the debate on aerial predator control. We're hoping those Alaskans can understand that department biologists are striving to satisfy the mandates of our state constitution, statutes of the Legislature and regulations of the Board of Game. They're not looking to break the law or to cover up.

There's room for factual debate and personal preference; there's room for diversity of opinion. I hope there's room also to accept that department biologists at times have a difficult job managing our fish and game, and that they are trying to benefit Alaska as they do it.

http://www.adn.com/opinion/story/501699.html

here is also another article that deals with the issue

Zoos not contacted before wolf pup kills
-- Fort Mill Times, Juneau, AK, 08/21/2008

http://www.fortmilltimes.com/124/story/263059.html
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by snowest » Thu Sep 04, 2008 8:53 am

horrible. they should just let nature fix the problem. :x :x :x
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by wolves_forever » Thu Sep 04, 2008 12:34 pm

This was very good, thanks for posting it. :D
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by Blindseer » Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:11 pm

people dont seem to relise that nature manages itsself...

the reason why population has declined is hunting, not predators.
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by DakotaSpirit » Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:25 pm

Exactly, i did an essay on saving the wolves, so this is the same point of my essay, killing wolves doesnt just bring down the pop. of them but also destorys nature or so. Killing wolf pups, brings down the pop. which means one day we could have elk or caribou or some type of deer in our backyard eating our gardens or something else. This is very uneccisary, wolves once again will go on the endangered list if this keeps going. Though where i live, Connecticut has been having sightings of wolves, Which i did another thing on so yeah thats all i have to say.
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by Blindseer » Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:28 pm

heres the thing:
if you kill all the offspring, there is no future generation. therefore, nothing is replaced and the animal goes extinct.

also, the main reason why people want to kill them is because they want to kill the elk.
I find " we are killing wolves so we get to kill the elk instead" to be a very poor argument.
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by wolfsong » Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:36 pm

I aggree blindseer. EVEN BETTER! i might have a word in all of this! ^O^ I'm going to be going to washington soon, and if Obama is elected, maybe i go again adn DEMAND that Saria Pallan STOP ALL hunting of wolves! but for now, when i go, there is going to be sparks and swears flying all over. :twisted:
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by DakotaSpirit » Thu Sep 04, 2008 2:40 pm

I see, that is a very poor arguement. Actually, it sounds like a little kid wanting to do that. Is it Alaska's plan as in the goverment of Alaska or is it the National Goverment saying that. I mean this is totally idiotic, stupid if i should say. All they want to do is just kill the elk, the wolves arent taking it all, they're just trying to survive. Why dont they just go and hunt with the wolves or something or just go some where else where theres elk. Moose more likely. But this is just stupid.
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by king1-7 » Thu Sep 04, 2008 3:13 pm

Reading the other side of the issue is always interesting. Thanks, Pawnee. ^^

But a good point has been brought up: if the caribou population goes down, the wolf population will also decrease. It's a basic law of nature. You don't need to physically bring down the wolf population in order to bring up the caribou population; it will eventually happen on its own.

I think that they're just managing the population because they're following the demands of the people. Adjusting to the nature's natural swing is more ethical than playing with it, in my opinion.
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by pawnee » Thu Sep 04, 2008 4:00 pm

Even if people hunted wolves and wolf pups, neighbouring packs would come in. We all saw what happened in Yellowstone...lots of food and no competition from other wolf packs resulted in large litters and pup survival rates. The same thing would probably happen, as wolf packs fericly control their rescources and territory from other packs....further research needs to be conducted before officials should be making any time of management desicion in regards to caribou and wolves.
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by Kenai Wolf » Fri Sep 05, 2008 5:57 pm

The ecosystem was designed to work in a very specific way that balanced itself quite nicely but it's simply so fragile. People can only push it so far before it topples over entirely... And it HAS happened before. I would not be surprised if it happens again.
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by Songdog » Sun Sep 07, 2008 3:29 pm

DakotaSpirit wrote: But this is just stupid.
Please be less offensive in stating your opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, whether you agree or not. That doesn't allow you to insult them.

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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by April » Sun Sep 14, 2008 9:26 am

Hmm, I think there are better ways to fix this problem.
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by lacoda » Sun Sep 14, 2008 7:02 pm

i know there just trying to help the elk but thats just hurting the balence of nature. whats worst, is that 58% of wolf pups die within the age of 4-9 mounth due to starvation and killing the pups to reduce the population wont fix a thing it only makes things worst for the wolves. :x
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Re: Killing wolf pups unpleasant but necessary for control

Post by king1-7 » Sun Sep 14, 2008 8:49 pm

lacoda wrote:killing the pups to reduce the population wont fix a thing it only makes things worst for the wolves. :x

That's the point of wolf management, Ma'am. While you're correct in saying that they're messing with Nature's back-and-forth dance between predator and prey, the wildlife officials are just trying to manage wolves to a good level that works for both the wolves and the people affected, and maintain that level indefinitely. It sounds questionable, but if wolves start encroaching on human property, actions must be taken to drive the wolves back. It's just another thing you'll have to accept.

I do not, however, support the 'managing' of wolves to create more prey for human hunters. There are plenty of prey to hunt out there...besides, wolves usually take out the old and sick prey anyway. Human hunters pride themselves on taking the biggest and strongest bulls, so wolves really don't hurt the chances of a human finding good targets to shoot.
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