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In the way of humans

Posted: Tuesday, May 06, 2003

Monday's paper begs the question: What do wolves, caribou and sea otters have in common?

Answer: They are all mammals, like us, and all unwittingly stand in the way of human progress and lust for money.

How is that? Well take Sen. Lisa Murkowski's thinly varnished alternative energy rhetoric. In her My Turn article, she claims the caribou love the drilling and spilling of Arctic oil. It implies, the caribou would tell us: "Each year we are mysteriously driven to calve amidst a maze of holding ponds, pipes and derricks. We certainly like this corporate intrusion into our wilderness and hope Congress will soon open ANWR for exploitation."

Senator, when caribou start to talk and we can clearly understand them, then we will have our answers without the obvious industry spin.

Wolves are highly gregarious, and organized into family groups. An efficient predator. One that has evolved over eons of real time. They are able to kill with nothing but their teeth and team work. No use of expensive, high-powered, scoped rifles to bring down a moose from a distance of 400 yards. Now we are hearing wolves are just too darned competitive and there must be laws made to efficiently cull them out region by region using all the high-tech we humans can muster.

My god, but can't the Legislature, the administration, the boards and commissions see it is the increased pressure from the urban areas, generation after generation, that continue to grow and to demand their sport-hunting privileges much to the detriment of all subsistence users, including wolves? Likely not, as there is considerable money to be made in pleasure hunting.

The Japanese and a number of others in Alaska, I for one, like raw sea urchin gonads.

So do sea otters. Apparently otters depend on them for at least a goodly part of their existence and will migrate to find a supply, which they've apparently done in relocating from the Sitka area to the western coast of the Prince of Wales Island. This has not gone unnoticed by the commercial folks. The urchins' raw innards are a delicacy, and are very expensive. Less than a pound can bring thousands of dollars on the right market, so here again we see the money thing pitted against nature.

Who will win this human race? I guess the ones with the most human friends.

Alan R. Munro

Juneau



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