Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Bad News for Bears
The Alaska Board of Game has approved a plan for state wildlife biologists to shoot black and grizzly bears from helicopters in the middle Kuskokwin River Region starting next spring in game management unit 19A. (There are 26 game units that make up the state) The goal is to increase the moose population for local hunters. All bears within a 540 square mile area will be removed. Unit 19A is about 250 miles southeast of Fairbanks. The dept estimates there are 135 to 160 black bears and 10-15 brown bears. They said the 2 year plan will have a minor effect on the overall black and brown bear populations in all of unit 19A.
The boards approval marks the second time in 2 months it has authorized Fish and Game personnel to shoot grizzly bears from helicopters. The first in Jan allowed the shooting of grizzlies on the North Slope to reduce predation on a rapidly declining musk ox population. The 7 member board is governor appointed and sets bag limits and seasons for game animals. In recent years the board has adopted an aggressive policy of expanding human consumption of moose and caribou by killing predators, first wolves and now more recently bears. An aerial wolf kill program has been in place in Unit 19A since 2004. Private pilots and gunners with state permits have reduced the wolf population by 60% each year since 2005 but moose number have not recovered. The game board also adopted a proposal Sunday to allow fly-in hunters to land and shoot black bears at bait stations in the Interior, as long as the hunter moves at least 300 feet from his aircraft before shooting.
Posted by Nan at 3:00 AM