I am a freshman at the new Thunder Mountain High School. This weekend I was reading the Juneau Empire on the Internet and I saw an article about some wolves and their pups being killed to boost the caribou population in that area.
I was appalled when I read about the 4- to 5-week-old wolf pups being shot in the head because the Department of Fish and Game thought that was a humane way of dealing with them. It's not!
I would imagine that a zoo or animal rehabilitation organization would have taken the wolf pups to raise and then release them into a new area. Giving them a chance for life is a better option than shooting them.
As I write this, I am shaking with both frustration and sadness. Wolves and caribou are both part of life's puzzle and have been coexisting for many centuries. Humans need to stop trying to fix everything and sometimes just let "nature" repair the changes in populations.
I read an article on the Internet about calf mortality in this same herd of caribou on May 22. Even the researchers are confused about why the calves are dying.
One theory by Eric Post, a Penn State associate professor of biology, states that calves are dying soon after being born because of the effects of global warming. He thinks that as the climate gets warmer, the plants begin to bloom earlier. Caribou rely on the plants for food and by the time the female caribou gives birth, the plants are already losing a lot of their nutritional value. Because of this, the calves are not getting proper nutrition. This is the reason he believes that many of the caribou calves from this herd are dying. For more information, see www.thedutchharborfisherman.com/news/show/2313.
All of life consists of predator/prey relationships. Everyone needs to realize that it's not just the wolves that are hunting the caribou, but the people too. The state should lower the amount of caribou taken each year by people, or close an area off to hunting.
In a state as big as Alaska there should be plenty of other places for a hunter to go. In time the population of wolves and caribou will even out. The world will always fix itself.
I want this letter to waken the hearts of many, and hopefully this inhumane way of shooting the pups and their mothers will stop.
The managers of our state's wildlife should consider that there are zoos and people that are educating themselves as wildlife rehabilitators and should be given the opportunity to work their passion to help animals.