Big game is a big deal in Alaska. People come from all over to hunt and many Alaskans enjoy shooting or trapping wild animals. It makes good sense to have a board that makes some rules.
Alaska's wildlife also draws lots of people, from various countries, who are interested in seeing wildlife and observing behavior in the wild. They go to Denali, for example, with the hope of seeing wolves and bears; and head to the Southeast with the prospect of seeing bears and whales. These tourists bring in lots of dollars to the Alaska economy.
Wildlife watching has become big business. Because it depends on healthy populations of animals (both predators and prey), it makes good sense to have a representative of this perspective on the Board.
Furthermore, at least one member of the Board should be a scientist trained in the principles of population ecology and their application. The primary focus of such a person should be the health of the ecological systems containing the prey animals and their natural predators.
In short, a good Board of Game would have a balance among interested parties, including not only those who want to kill animals, but also those who want to observe them alive in a natural setting (and the businesses that make it possible) and those who are concerned specifically with the long-term ecological health of the system.
Mary F. Willson
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