Commissioner turns down challenge of predator control rules

FAIRBANKS (AP) — Alaska’s Department of Fish and Game commissioner has rejected calls from petitioners critical of the state’s predator control rules to change the hunting program.

About 150 Alaska residents, including several former Board of Game members and former commissioner Frank Rue, signed a petition in August that was sent to Gov. Bill Walker. They sought to have Walker replace lethal predator control with nonlethal methods and advocated for a 5-mile buffer zone to protect wolves and bears around national parks and national wildlife refuges, The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten issued a response to the petition Thursday, saying he wouldn’t adopt the suggestions for Alaska’s intensive management program. The program, put in place by a legislative mandate, involves the killing of bears and wolves to protect deer, moose and caribou populations that are important sources of food for Alaskans.

Cotten disputed the petition’s claims that the program is “unscientific, unnecessary, ineffective, costly, unethical, inhumane, and controversial.”

“The predation control programs in place are supported by scientific evidence and biologists are always gathering more. If evidence shows a program ineffective, department biologists are the first to recommend ceasing it,” Cotten said.

Creating buffer zones to protect wolves and bears from hunting would hamper predator control efforts because federal conservation areas already cover a large percentage of Alaska, Cotten said. He also added that moving or sterilizing wolves instead of killing them would be ineffective and expensive.

Lead petition signatory Rick Steiner said the group is “exceptionally disappointed” with Cotten’s decision.

More in News

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
503 new cases; borough positivity rate hits 14.65%

Affected peninsula communities include Kenai, Other North, Soldotna and Seward

In this March 18, 2020 file photo, Thomas Waerner, of Norway, celebrates his win in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Nome, Alaska. The world’s most famous sled dog race will go forward in 2021 officials are preparing for every potential contingency now for what the coronavirus and the world might look like in March when the Iditarod starts. It’s not the mushers that worry Iditarod CEO Rob Urbach; they’re used to social distancing along the 1,000 mile trail. The headaches start with what to do with hundreds of volunteers needed to run the race, some scattered in villages along the trail between Anchorage and Nome, to protect them and the village populations. (Marc Lester/Anchorage Daily News via AP, File)
Virus restrictions lead Norwegian champ to drop Iditarod

“I cannot find a way to get the dogs to Alaska.”

Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, addresses reporters during a Wendesday, March 25, 2020 press conference in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)
First COVID vaccines could arrive in Alaska next month

Pfizer announced their COVID-19 vaccine candidate earlier this month, with Moderna not long after

File
DHSS encourages COVID-positive Alaskans to do their own contact tracing

In a Monday release, DHSS said that surging COVID-19 cases are creating a data backlog

Public input sought on proposed Skilak-area boat launch changes

The public scoping period will last from Dec. 8, 2020 to Jan. 8, 2021

Risk levels
Schools status: Nov. 23

34 KPBSD schools continue to operate 100% remotely through at least Nov. 25

Dr. Anne Zink, Alaska’s chief medical officer, addresses reporters during a Wendesday, March 25, 2020 press conference in the Atwood Building in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)
State COVID officials brief Soldotna City Council in work session

The council was joined by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Anne Zink and State Testing Coordinator Dr. Coleman Cutchins

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports more than 4,000 cases this week, 357 on peninsula

The state reported 462 new COVID-19 cases on Friday

Seward junior Lydia Jacoby swims in August 2019 at the Speedo Junior National Championships in Stanford, California. (Photo by Jack Spitser)
Improving through challenging times

Seward junior swimmer Jacoby wins national title at U.S. Open

Most Read