Alaskans face unique challenges that aren’t a part of most other states. We are called the Last Frontier and it is frontier living in Alaska. The conditions are extreme like the weather. We sit in our den watching TV and a moose ambles by our back door not 10 feet from us. We take our garbage out only to spot a bear rifling through it for a snack. We endure volcanic eruptions, many earthquakes, sub-zero temperatures and blizzards that produce white-out conditions. It is not the first time that the wolves of Alaska have threatened a community. On the Alaska Peninsula wolves are threatening the community of Port Heiden. They have attacked and killed 5 dogs and 2 cats. A woman was killed by wolves in a neighboring village last March. Now, state officials have authorized the aerial killing of the predator wolves.
This was not a knee jerk decision by state officials. Residents of Port Heiden appealed to the state for help in this situation. The increased aggression of the wolves had the residents sacred that a child might be next. The wolves mostly came into town at night but recently they had been seen during the day. Residents say there are three packs with approximately twenty wolves per pack.
Every effort will be made to “back-trail” the wolves so that the more aggressive ones would be killed. Reports state that the wolves coming into town are “skinny”. This indicates they are becoming increasingly hungry and may be the reason for their increased aggression. Wolves are normally shy and stay away from the human population. “The frequency, aggressive nature, and number of wolves involved in the attacks is unacceptable from a public safety standpoint,” said Lem Butler, Fish and Game’s area biologist in King Salmon.
This is a serious situation that has most Alaskans feeling conflicted. This state is known for its conservationist attitudes yet it must be balanced with common sense when predators start attacking the town’s population.
This is not the first time that Alaskans have had to make the hard decisions. The summer of 2008 was a bloody summer in Anchorage with numerous bear maulings. Officials eventually had to kill one “mama grizzly” and capture her two young cubs. The cubs were re-located to a zoo in the lower 48.
Officials have had to kill a moose on the University of Alaska at Anchorage campus after she attacked multiple times killing one man.
This isn’t the first time this kind of decision has been made and as long as Alaska is a frontier, it won’t be the last time.
Mary Pemberton, http://www.adn.com/2010/12/08/1594715/aggressive-wolves-in-southwest.html#ixzz17gBZ47hS, Anchorage Daily News