Safety more important than wolf

Letter to the editor

Posted: Sunday, March 27, 2005

The first I've heard of this black wolf was about a year ago. What happened to the public awareness about this black wolf today? Where are the signs posted? No one can assume that "everybody knows." It is very sad that it took the death of a miniature beagle to get people's attention about the predator who lives close by. With the nice weather we've had recently, it has drawn a lot of people outdoors with their pets.

I went online to check the archives at JuneauEmpire.com and found very few articles with statements from Alaska Department of Fish and Game officials. What was interesting were the statements dated January/February of 2004. Two statements in particular made by ADFG indicated what would have to be done about the wolf. "If an animal becomes comfortable with people and pets, in the end, the wolf is going to lose. A wolf maintaining close proximity to people is not a good thing. It's getting progressively worse, and eventually it could lead to it grabbing a pet or biting someone. That will force officials to shoot the wolf."

My question now is what has changed here in the last year? From what I can read on this situation, both ADFG and USFS are proud of the fact there is a Black Wolf attraction at the Glacier Visitor Center and Dredge Lake area.

Great for observing the Alaskan Wild right in our backyards. Is that the whole idea? Why wasn't this wolf relocated a year ago? Why is he allowed to co-exist with humans? He isn't from Dredge Lake. You don't think relocating to an uninhabited island might work?

What are we waiting for, another observation of a pet being carried off, or God forbid, Little Johnny carried away by a wild wolf? USFS set precedent by closing the Moraine Ecology Trail last August due to "bear traffic."

I am part of the general population who lives in Mendenhall Valley and enjoys hikes, especially on nice-weather days, and I didn't know there was a black wolf at Dredge Lake area since I last heard over a year ago.

I would hate to think that Fish and Game is more interested in protecting the wolf for a tourist attraction then protecting the people who live here. In reality Fish and Game isn't protecting the wolf at all by allowing it to live where it is currently.

Alicia Foss

Juneau



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