Assault Rifle Slaughter of Alaskan Denali Wolves

“Alaska’s predator control program is clearly out of control,”

Washington, DC, April 3, 2018 — The State of Alaska is scrambling to shut down hunting and trapping adjacent to Denali National Park over concerns that excessive kills may destabilize this iconic wolf population. Photos posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) show a man armed with an AR15 semiautomatic rifle displaying ten wolf carcasses outside Denali.

In an emergency order issued on March 30, 2018 and revised yesterday, Alaska Department of Fish & Game (DFG) cut short the hunting and trapping season on state land along the Stampede Trail, including land adjacent to the eastern boundary of Denali National Park and Preserve. The stated reason for the order is that –

“The wolf harvest this season in the area described is more than the past 5-year average and there is the potential for more harvest to occur before the end of the regulatory hunting and trapping seasons.”

While DFG claims in its order that “There are no conservation concerns for wolves” in the Denali region, the agency admits that it has no idea how many wolves have been killed this year. Moreover, the state has not acknowledged reports that a hunter on a snow machine armed with a semiautomatic rifle recently killed ten wolves outside Denali.

“While I am glad that Governor Walker has acted I am concerned that it may be too little, too late,” said Rick Steiner, a retired University of Alaska professor and PEER board member, who has led the charge for permanent buffer zones around Denali. “The historic high level of take has already altered wolf ecological dynamics, not counting these reports of additional kills just now coming in.”

Studies show hunting and trapping outside Denali is having a big impact on the viability of wolf packs inside Denali, which is Alaska’s top tourist attraction, drawing more than a half-million visitors annually. Not only are Denali wolf family groups disrupted, but visitor-viewing success has plummeted as well.

Similarly, at Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, hunting has so decimated wolf packs that the National Park Service had to end a more than 20-year research program on predator-prey relationships. Its scientists found that the wolf population in the 2.5 million acre national preserve is “no longer in a natural state” nor are there enough survivors to maintain a “self-sustaining population.”

Significantly, Alaska has agreed to participate in an independent National Academy of Sciences review of its predator control programs for the first time in 20 years since the administration of Governor Tony Knowles (1994-2002), the only governor in Alaska history to prohibit lethal predator control programs.

“Alaska’s predator control program is clearly out of control,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Alaska should put predator control on hold until it gets a handle on what is actually occurring.”

In response to the recent excessive losses at Denali, Alaska citizens are renewing their call for the Governor to establish a permanent no-kill buffer protecting all park predator species – wolves, bears, lynx, wolverines – along the boundary of Denali, to restore the natural ecosystem and visitor viewing success in the park.

Read the state emergency hunting and trapping closure order

Look at hunting adverse impacts on Denali wolf packs

See decimation of Yukon-Charley wolf packs

View Trump repeal of hunting restrictions inside Alaskan national parks and refuges

Look at growing doubts about Alaska’s predator control program

11 comments

  1. A half million tourists come to Denali to SEE the wolves? How many “tourists” come up there to KILL them? I’m betting not that many!
    Considering how many wolves, buffalo, mountain lions were slaughtered hundreds of years ago – I was under the impression that was a bad thing! Looking at the guy with the AR15 & TEN dead wolves? That’s the mindset it takes to eliminate a species, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The story says, “no longer in a natural state” nor are there enough survivors to maintain a “self-sustaining population.”
    Sound familiar?
    Is that the future of animals on our planet?
    … except for those domestic animals in cages/crates/corrals destined to be on someone’s dinner plate.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My experience in AK was that plenty of assault rifles were in fact altered to be fully auto — you cannot see this from a photo, so the assertion this one was semi-auto is just a guess. Might explain how he got 10 in one day that all look the same size/color etc. so are probably close relatives. Look at the PEER report for another photo of the carcasses hanging, very uniform.
    What are ten prime large hides worth today? Nice return for a few bullets and a day’s joyride.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As for trophy hunting, I think it is probably the kind of animal killing that most resembles murder – murder in the first degree. It is done with planning (premeditation) and without provocation or biological justification. The animals are entirely innocent creatures killed only for ego-gratification and fun. It’s time we began to see this practice as akin to murder.” Kirk Robinson (executive director of the Western Wildlife Conservancy

    Liked by 2 people

  5. U.S. House sanctions killing hibernating bears, wolf pups in their dens on federal refuges in Alaska
    February 16, 2017

    What the U.S. House of Representatives did today – actually a very narrow majority of the House – was shameful. CRUEL, CALLOUS,

    The vote in favor of H.J. Resolution 69, authored by
    Alaska’s Rep. DON YOUNG, was 225 to 193.
    Those 225 members voted to overturn a federal rule – years in the works, and crafted by professional wildlife managers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – to stop some of the most appalling practices ever imagined in the contemporary era of wildlife management. Denning of wolf pups, killing hibernating bears, spotting grizzly bears from aircraft and then shooting them after landing, and trapping grizzly bears and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares. The stuff of wildlife snuff films.
    And not just on any land. On our country’s national wildlife refuges. More specifically, on 16 national wildlife refuges covering 76 million acres, all in the state of Alaska.

    Republican lawmakers did this for the
    NRA,
    the Safari Club, and some hunting guides and outfitters.
    There were 10 Republicans who voted against the majority position –
    Reps. Dan Donovan and Peter King of New York, Frank LoBiondo, Tom MacArthur, and Chris Smith of New Jersey, Martha McSally of Arizona, Dave Reichert of Washington, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida, Brian Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania, and Fred Upton of Michigan. We thank them for their compassion and courage.
    There were five Democrats who voted with the Republican majority –
    Reps. Henry Cuellar,
    Vicente Gonzalez and F
    ilemon Vela of Texas,
    Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and
    Collin Peterson of Minnesota — even as a parade of Democratic lawmakers called out the cruelty and said the behavior in question was unconscionable and unthinkable.
    https://blog.humanesociety.org/2017/02/u-s-house-sanctions-killing-hibernating-bears-wolf-pups-dens-federal-refuges-alaska.html

    Liked by 1 person

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