Stop aerial wolf hunting

Sarah Palin is a well-known politician, former governor of Alaska, 2008 vice presidential candidate and a murderer of wolves.

Sarah Palin is a well-known politician, former governor of Alaska, 2008 vice presidential candidate and a murderer of wolves.

In the brief two and a half years of her time as governor, Palin promoted an aerial wolf slaughter campaign that still continues to this day. She planned to offer a $150 bounty for the severed forelimb of each murdered wolf. Nearly 700 wolves have been killed due to these aerial attacks. Palin also implemented the practice of gassing wolf pups while they were in their dens.

A government financial incentive for the killing of wolves, or any animal for that matter, should not be legal, especially in Alaska, a state that is known for its majestic wildlife.

Wyoming and Idaho are considering the use of the aerial hunting of wolves by federal and state agencies. This past hunting season in Idaho, 188 wolves were killed—just 32 short of the quota of 220 which was set before the hunting season began.

Idaho state officials have actually been praising the hunt for helping to stabilize the wolf population. At the end of 2009, there were an estimated 800 wolves in 94 packs in Idaho. Idaho is a good-sized state, and 800 wolves does not seem like a lot.

Wolves were previously endangered due to hunters, and were reintroduced into Idaho and Yellowstone National Park to try to keep the population alive. Now officials are saying there is an overpopulation of wolves, so the hunting needs to continue. Is this the inevitable cycle for wolves—from becoming so close to being extinct to becoming overpopulated and being hunted down all over again?

Wolves are starting to return to Oregon as well, which is a wonderful development. John Rueter, professor of Environmental Science and Management at Portland State University, said, “It is an exciting prospect for Oregon to have wolves and moose return to our state.” 

Although wolves and moose may not always get along, it is definitely better to have them around th
an not to have the wolves around at all.

“Those animals will cause some friction and we will have to deal with that problem,” Rueter said.  “But it’s so much better to be worried about how to deal with wolves than to regret letting them become extinct.”

One thing is certain: The use of aerial hunting has got to stop. Hunting is considered a “sport.” Putting aside the fact that it is not a sport in the first place, what is considered even remotely “sport-like” about using planes and helicopters to viciously kill animals? How is that fair?

Idaho’s wolf issue goes beyond hunting or not hunting—it has become a government debate and an issue between state and federal government. The federal government wants to protect the wolves, and the state government wants to be able to have the power to regulate the wolf population in their state, whatever that may entail.

The first step to progress was Sarah Palin resigning. Now we need to get rid of aerial hunting: It is an unfair, unsportsmanlike way to kill wolves.

Alaska needs to stop the hostile brutality. Wyoming and Idaho need to refuse to follow Alaska’s horrible example. Let the wolves live—it is better to have them, and have to deal with them, than to not have them at all.