Board of Game decisions questioned

She died after spending a week in the unchecked trap, according to park biologist Tom Meier. Then her body was scavenged by a wolverine. The demise of the only reproducing female of the Grant Creek Pack was a horrific but fitting tribute to the Board of Game that signed her death warrant. Had the Denali Buffer Zone remained in place, this travesty would not have happened.

Created in recognition of natural boundaries, the buffer was removed by a 4-3 vote of the Board of Game in 2010 without justification. In doing so the Board demonstrated its lack of basic comprehension of animal territories. It gave in to a handful of trappers. One result was a brutal death in a trap set by Healy trapper, Coke Wallace, a death that arguably amounted to wanton waste.

Because the Board of Game has created no general regulations regarding periodicity of checking sets, traps can go unchecked the entirety of the season.

The removal of the buffer zone and no set trap checking intervals are just two examples of the travesty that is our Board of Game. They listened not to the average Alaskan but to the vocal handful who wanted more land in which to kill. Never mind the Alaskan Constitution says all Alaskans are equal owners of our wildlife. In words and actions, the Board considers the majority of Alaskans second-class owners with a preference given to the trophy-hunters, the trappers, the Coke Wallaces. Five hundred petitioners, many local to the Denali area, requested the zone be continued. Five trappers wanted it removed. The Board listened only to the five and now, as predicted, Alaska is the lesser for their decision. The vast majority of Americans lost in that decision.

By their denial of the buffer zone and refusal to set trap checking requirements, the Board of Game has sanctioned this sort of waste and has shown the world how little ethics and good science mean in Alaska wildlife management.

Art Greenwalt

Fairbanks

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