Wednesday, July 29, 2009

US Senate and House introduce "Protect America's Wildlife" (PAW) - a bill that can put an end to aerial hunting!

On Sept of 2007 the Wolf Conservation Center made a trip with Atka to our nation’s capitol. Defenders of Wildlife invited the WCC to join Representative George Miller (CA) as he introduced PAW -- “Protect America’s Wildlife” -- a bill designed to put an end to Alaska's aerial wolf control program. On July 29, 2009, Miller reintroduced the bill and for the first time ever, PAW was also introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA)and Senator Ben Cardin (MD)!

Aerial Hunting is against the law. In 1972 Congress passed the Airborne Hunting Act (AHA) to prohibit hunting or harassing animals from aircraft. Although illegal, the practice of aerial hunting has been resurrected by the Alaska Legislature under the guise of wildlife management and predator control. Alaska skirts the intent of Congress by exploiting a loophole in the AHA to use aerial hunting to artificially boost game species populations for hunters. Under Alaska’s aerial hunting program over 1000 wolves have been killed in the past several years.

If passed, PAW will close the loophole in the AHA and prevent other states may propose to follow Alaska’s example. Speak up for wolves! If you agree that it is time to ground Alaska’s illegal and inhumane air assault on wolves, contact your congress person today. PAW now has 110 cosponsors in the House of Representatives so this bill is off to a great start! For Sample message points, click "here"

Sample Message Points

• Over 35 years ago, Congress banned use of aircraft to hunt wolves and other wildlife by passing the Airborne Hunting Act (AHA) with great bipartisan support. But since 2003, over 1000 wolves in Alaska have been shot by private hunters using airplanes.
• The AHA does allow for the limited use of aerial gunning as a wildlife management tool. But the state’s aerial gunning program is unnecessary, unscientific and is spiraling out of control.
• The program lacks a scientific foundation and aims to virtually eliminate or drastically reduce wolf populations in nearly 60,000 square miles of Alaska.
• Alaska’s aerial gunning program also targets brown and black bears, including sows and cubs, by promoting use of aircraft for “land and shoot” hunting of bears in over 12,000 square miles of the state.
• Fortunately, Rep. George Miller (CA) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA) have introduced the Protect America’s Wildlife (PAW) Act to close the loophole in the Airborne Hunting Act.
• The PAW Act would:
o Clarify when states can use aircraft to kill wolves and other predators to protect wildlife (legitimate biological emergency of prey species, for example)
o Allow states to use aerial control to protect land, water, wildlife, livestock, domesticated animals, human life and crops
o Stop states from using aerial gunning to artificially boost game species populations
o Require states to provide a scientific foundation to use aircraft for wildlife management
• Alaska’s program is not legitimate wildlife management. The state’s aerial “predator control” is occurring in areas already suffering from an overabundance of prey. In March 2009, for example, the state removed 84 wolves from the Upper Yukon/Tanana area, an area they are now actively trying to reduce prey populations in, by allowing hunters to kill female moose. A surplus of prey species can result in overgrazing, starvation and the spread of disease among excessive prey.
• Wolves help maintain ecosystem health by keeping moose and caribou populations both in check and healthy by often preying upon old, sick and injured animals. Removing keystone predators such as wolves can cause long-term damage to fragile forest and tundra ecosystems.
• Shooting wildlife from aircraft or chasing wildlife with aircraft to exhaustion, then landing and shooting them at close range, is a clear violation of the rules of ethical hunting. Most hunters are opposed to the use of aircraft to hunt because, among other reasons, it is not considered “fair-chase hunting” and is unsportsmanlike.
• Other states are threatening to follow Alaska’s lead, making aerial gunning a national issue once again.
• SENATE ASK: Senators NAME and NAME should cosponsor the Protect America’s Wildlife Act (S. 1535)
• HOUSE ASK: Representative NAME should cosponsor the Protect America’s Wildlife Act (H.R. 3381)
• It is time to stop this unnecessary and unscientific practice once and for all, to protect wolves, other predators, and ecosystems in Alaska and the lower 48 states.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Defenders of Wildlife Obtains Graphic Photos of Aerial Hunting

Congressman George Miller (CA) and Defenders of Wildlife president, Roger Schlickeisen, introduce PAW Act with WCC staff and ambassador wolf, Atka

Defenders of Wildlife obtained extremely disturbing behind-the-scene photos of Alaska's wolf hunting program. These images are graphic and are not suitable for young children. If you choose to view these images, please press the play button below. If you want to do something to put an end to aerial hunting, please continue to scroll down and learn how to take action.

Under Alaska’s aerial hunting program more than 1000 wolves have been killed since 2003. Alaska is the only state in the U.S. where private trophy hunters use aircraft to gun down wolves from low-flying airplanes or chase them to exhaustion, then land and shoot them at point-blank range.

We have a real chance to put a stop to this barbaric practice once and for all.

The WCC is working with Defenders of Wildlife to build support for the Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act, a bill that would close the deadly loophole that allows Alaska to continue its aerial hunting program. If passed, PAW will close this loophole and prevent other states who are proposing to follow Alaska’s example. Speak up for wolves! If you agree that it is time to ground Alaska’s illegal and inhumane air assault on wolves, it's crucial that our elected officials in Congress hear from you. This is our best chance to end aerial wolf hunting, and we don't have any time to lose.

Here's how to help:

1) You can find your representative by visiting and entering your congressional district. This will take you to your representative’s web page.

2) Call or write your representative and ask them to Please co-sponsor the PAW Act (H.R. 3663)

3) If your Representative is already a co-sponsor, THANK them!
Spread the word!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

With Help from Species Survival Plan, Red Wolves May Have a Future

Red wolf, F1291, eagerly awaits the arrival of her soon to be mate, M1587. ©Spencer Wilhelm

Neil Chambers of Treehugger, the leading media outlet dedicated to driving sustainability mainstream, writes about the WCC's red "she-wolf", F1291.

Read all about it on Treehugger