The Department of Fish and Game began using a helicopter to kill wolves in the eastern Interior on Saturday in what state officials said is an attempt to turn around what so far has been an unsuccessful aerial predator control program in the region.
Department personnel shot and killed approximately 30 wolves from a helicopter during the weekend in the Fortymile country east of Tok, and the state is hoping to kill another 70 wolves in the same manner before breakup hits, according to spokeswoman Cathie Harms with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game in Fairbanks.
That’s in addition to wolves that are being taken by permitted private pilot-gunner teams in fixed-wing aircraft and wolves taken by trappers and hunters, she said. All totaled, the state is hoping that about 200 wolves will be killed in the region this winter, Harms said.
That would leave about 100 wolves in the region, according to the department’s population numbers. The state estimates there are somewhere between 290 and 328 wolves in the area. The state’s predator control plan calls for a minimum of 88 wolves to be maintained in the control area, Harms said.
This marks the second time in the past year the state has used helicopters as part of its controversial aerial wolf control program. The department shot and killed 14 wolves from a helicopter last June to protect the struggling Southern Alaska Peninsula Caribou Herd, and it euthanized 14 wolf pups that were left in a den after the shootings.
As of Monday, a total of 39 wolves had been killed this winter.
"It’s a very large area and it’s become apparent it’s going to be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reach those numbers with just permittees," she said. "Helicopters are much more efficient."
"Our great concern is a good many of those wolves have home ranges that are centered in the preserve," Dudgeon said.
plus 3 planes with trackers
This is shocking and disgusting news. This is an out and out slaughter and for no real reason .
even if there was a reason its no way to treat them...poor babes