Federal judge blocks Alaska wolf-kill plan


State officials sought permission for an aerial hunt on Unimak Island in the Aleutians to save a caribou herd.

June 07, 2010|By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Seattle — A federal judge in Alaska refused on Monday to allow state officials to launch an aerial wolf hunt on a federal wildlife refuge in the Aleutian Islands, an emergency effort to save a herd of caribou that is on the verge of collapse.

The ruling is the latest chapter in a legal battle between the state and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that erupted after federal wildlife officials threatened to charge state game hunters with trespassing if they entered the refuge and began gunning down wolves.

While federal officials have engaged in a variety of predator control measures, no aerial wolf control program has ever been authorized on a federal wildlife refuge in Alaska.

U.S. District Judge H. Russel Holland in Anchorage declined the state's request for a preliminary injunction, ruling that federal wildlife officials are allowed by law to complete their studies to determine the cause of the caribou decline and how to deal with the predator wolves before any emergency action.

The state Department of Fish and Game has warned that the caribou population on Unimak Island — the easternmost island in the Aleutians that is home to fewer than 100 mainly Alaska Native residents — is so precariously low that it could disappear if wolves are allowed to attack this summer's newborn calves.


More: articles.latimes.com/2010/jun/07/nation/la-na-alaska-wolf-20100608


Tag:  wolves, wildlife, alaska, caribou,


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