A surprise in Sunday's newspaper

Posted: Tuesday, August 05, 2008

At 6:30 a.m. Sunday, I stepped outside to look for my paper and was literally handed it by our deliveryman.

Good timing.

Slipping it out of its orange bag, there was a little square sticker on the front page prodding me to read the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's folded four-color predator control insert. I read it and here are my comments:

It seems that in 1994, the state Legislature, in its infinite wisdom, passed into law something called the Intensive Management Law. But you possibly already knew that, right?

But if you're like me, you didn't and weren't even aware it existed much less that it was specifically designed to give the governor's game board appointees and Legislature-approved members sweeping powers to actually direct the Department of Fish and Game to kill carnivore predators, and get this - that includes both pups and grown wolves and bears.

In other words, this law perpetuates an outdated wildlife management system paradigm that was born eons ago in Europe and subsequently brought to the new world. A management paradigm possessing way more myths, politics and economics then anything remotely resembling sound, hard science. To begin to correct this very serious problem, I suggest two things:

By law, make the Board of Game an advisory board only - thus removing its Fish and Game decision-making authority.

Open this scholarly link, http://bolt.lakeheadu.ca/~alceswww/history.html, and read. Here you will find wildlife management information and controversy discussed openly, such as the following quote:

"Game management agencies will need to shift towards a more modern construct that recognizes the intrinsic value of wild ecosystems and the wildlife they contain including large predators," Schartz, et al. ALCES Vol. 39, 2003.

Meanwhile give your support to private wildlife conservation groups that advocate for sound wildlife management practices in Alaska and elsewhere.

Alan R. Munro

Juneau



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