Sarah Palin's Controversy about Wolves-Truth!  But a Conservation Effort!

Sarah Palin’s Controversy About Wolves-Truth! But a Conservation Effort!

Summary of eRumor:

eRumor with attached video from the Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund claiming that Alaska Governor Sarah Palin promotes hunting from aircraft of Wolves and Bears.  The Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund website claims that Governor Palin used a loophole in the Federal Airborne Hunting Act to allow private wolf killers to shoot down wolves using aircraft.”  The eRumor terms it as “shameful.”

The Truth:

Wildlife is protected by the Federal Airborne Hunting Act, which is also known as Airborne Hunting Act or Shooting from Aircraft Act.

Approved in November 18, 1971 itprohibits shooting or attempting to shoot or harassing any bird, fish, or other animal from aircraft except for certain specified reasons, including protection of wildlife, livestock, and human life as authorized by a Federal or State issued license or permit. States authorized to issue permits are required to file reports with the Secretary of the Interior containing information on any permits issued.”

Alaska’s constitution requires that the state’s resources, including its fish and wildlife, be managed for the maximum benefit of Alaskans.  Wolves and bears are very effective and efficient predators killing up to 80% of caribou and moose that die during an average year.  Owing to dropping numbers of Caribou on the Southern peninsula of Alaska the state deemed them a “serious conservation concern,” and members of the Alaska Board of Game voted to adopt a predator management program. 

On September 25, 2007, Congressman George Miller (D-CA) sponsored a bill in the House, HR 3663 to amend the Fish and Wildlife Act of 1956 to establish additional prohibitions on shooting wildlife from aircraft, and for other purposes. The last action of this bill, according to the GovTrackUS Web site is September 27, 2007 when it was referred to House subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, and Oceans.

Governor Sarah Palin issued an official response to Congressman Miller’s bill and posted a press release on the Alaskan Governor’s Office web site.  Palin stated that with this bill Congressman Miller threatens the Alaskan food supply, that he no understanding  of  rural Alaska, lacks comprehension of  wildlife management and has no appreciation for the  “Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that gives states the right to manage their own affairs.”  Palin also stated that “wolf and bear populations are extremely healthy in this state, and that predator control is intended to create more opportunities for humans to harvest moose and caribou for food, while maintaining healthy populations of predators.”

The press release also stated that there is no “aerial hunting” of wolves in Alaska.  Predators are competing with the natural food supply (Moose and Caribou) of Alaskans in rural areas and the State of Alaska created what Governor Palin called a “science-driven and abundance-based predator management program” involving volunteers permitted to use aircraft to reduce the predator population in specific areas only. 

Palin explained the need for the program as, “trying to increase opportunities for Alaskans to put healthy food on their families’ dinner tables. It is not hunting and we have never claimed that it is.”

Click for Alaskan Department of Fish and Game’s Wildlife Conservation page

Click for House Bill HR 3663

Click for the State of Alaska press release

posted 09/09/08