January 10, 2002
Post #1424 – 20020110
Last night I spent the entire evening in the most enjoyable and rewarding experience of reading “Uncle Boris….”. It held particular interest for me, living in Alaska as I do, for dealing with our next door neighbor, the Yukon.
Perhaps the highest accolade (that truly makes a tangible difference to an author) is that I immediately went out the next day and purchased copies for my friends.
Towards the end I was struck by your interest in wolves. There is an irony in the timing of my reading this book and an issue here in Alaska wherein our Board of Game (which sets all the regulations pertaining to wildlife) has been presented with proposals by trapper organizations and others to continue to allow the use of snowmobiles in pursuing and taking wolves. There are no specifics other than it is restricted to certain (very extensive) areas in the state so should such a person wish to run a wolf down to exhaustion then shoot it or simply run it over, nothing prevents them doing so. Frankly, those are the only two ways as I can tell you from many miles on the machines, you cannot fire accurately going 30 mph over snowy trails full of bumps and dips. The ostensible reason is to halt a decline of moose used for subsistence in these areas. However, this past summer our Dept. of Fish and Game produced two studies of relevance, one showing that moose calf predation is primarily the venue of grizzlies then black bears and finally, with only 5% of the take, wolves. Another study also showed that contrary to the locals’ claims, the number of moose was actually double what they were citing as population figures and that very likely the real check on their growth is the poor forage in the area.
Regardless of these findings, the anti-wolf faction is asking for the ability to continue using snowmachines as weapons of destruction for wolves in their areas.
I bring this up in the hope, sir, that you might see fit during one of your NPR discourses to mention this fact. The Board of Game is composed solely of hunters and trappers, so appeals to them for common sense and ethical behavior falls on many deaf ears. That being the case, perhaps the shame publicity can bring may halt this contemptible behavior.
…Art Greenwalt, Fairbanks, Alaska
The war on wolves has gone on for years, and continues--not only in Alaska. The statistics have been compiled various times in various places, and they always line up in favor of protecting the wolves, both to preserve a beautiful wild creature, and because they tend to stabilize, and improve, the local environment. Don't wait for me to do a wolf-piece on NPR--for various reasons too complex and Pinkwater-specific to go into, that might take a long time to happen--but you can try to do one yourself, starting with making contact with a local Alaska public radio station and discussing the possibility. Anyone reading this who wants to get in touch with you can write to Ed right here at and have email forwarded. Thanks for bringing this to our collective attention.
To all those interested: you can find a list of Alaskan public radio stations at http://www.npr.org/members/northwest.html#ak. -- Ed