Aerial wolf hunting program in Alaska falls short of goal |

Aerial wolf hunting program in Alaska falls short of goal

ANCHORAGE, Alaska ” Aerial hunters have killed 124 wolves this winter in the Alaska’s predator control program.

State wildlife officials believe that translates to more than 1,400 moose or almost 3,000 caribou being saved ” or some combination thereof.

The number of wolves killed, however, is far below the goal of 455 to 670 wolves, but it’s more than the 97 wolves taken last year.

The program, which is still ongoing, is an effort to boost moose and caribou numbers.

Wolves have high reproductive rates and some biologists question the effectiveness of the hunts.

Even if 40 percent of the wolves in a pack died over a winter, pack sizes could be rebuilt by the start of the next winter, according to studies on the Kenai Peninsula by biologist Rolf Peterson of Michigan Technological University.

In March, Superior Court Judge William F. Morse invalidated the aerial killing of wolves in several small areas of the state and issued a ruling upholding the predator control program. It was in response to a lawsuit was filed by Friends of Animals, Defenders of Wildlife and the Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

Shortfalls identified by Morse were resolved and the programs reactivated, according to Cathie Harms, spokeswoman for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

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