ANCHORAGE - Fourteen wolves have been killed in a state-sponsored predator control program that has prompted demonstrations nationwide and a call for a tourism boycott of Alaska.
The wolves were killed late last week in the Nelchina basin area about 100 miles northeast of Anchorage, where state wildlife officials say the moose population has plummeted because wolves and bears are killing too many moose calves, leaving locals with too few moose to eat.
The state earlier this month issued permits to 28 teams to remove 140 wolves from an approximately 8,000-square-mile area. The Nelchina plan requires pilots to land the planes before the animals are shot.
Another wolf control program near the Interior town of McGrath, where three teams were issued one-month permits, allows the animals to be shot from planes in the air. So far, no wolves in the McGrath area have been killed.
"It makes me cringe," said Priscilla Feral, president of the 200,000-member Friends of Animals, of the killings. The Darien, Conn.-based group is organizing what it calls "howl-ins" in cities nationwide to try to stop the lethal wolf control program.