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ADF&G Hides Evidence That Does Not Support Wolf Control

Thank you for caring!

In 2000, Governor Tony Knowles formed the McGrath Adaptive Management Team to determine the cause and solution for an "alleged" lack of moose around McGrath. My husband, Leo, was appointed to that six-member team. The team directed Fish & Game to conduct numerous studies. Those studies established the McGrath area as having the most and best science on which to base management decisions.

The studies found that there were plenty of moose to meet the needs of local residents, but over hunting had reduced the ratio of bulls to cows to as low as 6/100. (A target rate of 25-30 bulls per 100 cows is normal within a hunted population.) In addition to the low number of bulls to harvest, the antler size was extremely low as compared to those on adjacent lands with normal hunting pressure. (An average of 30" versus 42" in an adjacent area hunters did not use as much) Accurate surveys showed that instead of the alleged 869 moose in the area, there were 3,660.

Subsistence calculations showed that needs could be met with a moose population of approximately 3,000. These reports demonstrated there was no need to consider or begin predator control. Though these results were published in a State Fish and Game Memorandum; dated Nov. 2, 2001 ( http://www.akwildlife.com/Page5.htm), it was later buried and ignored.

After receiving these reports, the Adaptive Management team stopped meeting. The draft predator control plan they had been working on was unjustified and support for it vanished. Everyone began to look to the Board of Game to better regulate hunting pressure, the true cause for the lack of Bull Moose. However, in 2001, one, and only one thing changed. Pro-Wolf Control advocate Frank Murkowski was elected Governor. He appointed five radical fellow wolf control advocates as new members to the seven-member Board of Game. The Board and ADF&G buried the McGrath information calling for regulation of hunters. They then adopted the incomplete plan the McGrath Adaptive Management Team had been developing, and rushed into implementing predator control.

It is rare to have proof of a government body actively hiding evidence and misleading the public, however, we do. Two years after the Adaptive Management team stopped meeting, we were contacted by Joel Gay, an Anchorage Daily News reporter, who found the pre-Memorandum draft predator control plan was posted on the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's web site and portrayed as their findings. Luckily, we still had a copy of the Memorandum, so since ADF&G refused to post it on their web site, we posted it on ours.(http://www.akwildlife.com/Page5.htm)

The Memorandum and Press Release prove that the basis for the current aerial wolf control plan is bogus. It took our hint of a lawsuit for slander to get the Department to post the Memorandum on their web site, which happened a full two years after it was completed. If such prominent documents can be buried, how many other studies and findings have been cherry-picked, distorted, or ignored to support this Board's agenda?

Below is a copy of the E-mail exchange between Anchorage Daily News reporter Joel Gay who alerted us of this, and our letter to the Commissioner of Alaska Department of Fish and Game Kevin Duffy. A copy of the original series of e-mails is available to the media upon request:

Importance: High
Subject: Re: Fwd: RE: Please correct misstatement
To: JGay@adn.com, "Kevin Duffy"
X-Mailer: Lotus Notes Release 5.0.7 March 21, 2001
From: "Leo Keeler"
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2003 13:37:00 -0600
X-MIMETrack: Serialize by Router on ENTR10B/E/USDAFS(Release 5.0.11 |July 24, 2002) at 04/28/2003 11:37:04 AM

Joel,

I found the problem. ADF&G is still using the February 8, 2001 report as the final decision of the Adaptive Management Team. They are still refusing to update the web site and related information to show the results of the fall 2001 surveys and information that goes against predator control. That 2/8/2001 report is no longer valid.

Kevin,

I am becoming extremely frustrated by ADF&G's presenting information that portrays my name and participation in the 19D East Adaptive Wildlife Management Team improperly. I again ask that ADF&G be totally honest with the public and reveal the information obtained from the fall 2001 surveys. By continuing to portray the February 8, 2001 report as the final position of the Adaptive Wildlife Management Team you are publishing false information about the team and specifically false information about my personal position on the plan. After receiving the fall 2001 surveys, I no longer supported proceeding with the February Plan. I have stated that numerous times to the Board of Game and to Wayne Reglin.

I am now interpreting ADF&G's failure to update the web site, and continuing to present the AWMT's draft report as a final decision as slandering my name.

PLEASE CORRECT THE WEB SITE AND TAKE PROPER ACTION TO PREVENT ADF&G FROM IMPROPERLY PRESENTING MY POSITION ON THE McGRATH ISSUE. I DO NOT, IN ANY WAY, SUPPORT THE FEBRUARY 8, 2001 PLAN.

Leo

Subject: RE: Please correct misstatement
Date: Sun, 27 Apr 2003 14:39:23 -0800
X-MS-Has-Attach: X-MS-TNEF-Correlator:
Thread-Topic: Please correct misstatement
Thread-Index: AcMMR8vIPCRKiEgER5iz9CoARkPCkQAwtYCA
From: "Gay, Joel"
To: "Leo & Dorothy Keeler"
X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by host3.webby.com id h3RMcY5N011759

Hi Leo, sorry I didn't back to you sooner, but I was off on Friday, the day my wolf story came out, and am working today (Sunday.)

I got my information from the ADFG web site, which says that the AWMT" concluded that several management actions should be taken, including wolf control." When I read the AWMT report on the web site, it sounds like there was disagreement over some issues, but that the team signed off on the plan. Is the website wrong, or was the AWMT report worded in such a way that it disguises your opposition to it? Is there some way for you and ADFG to work together to correct the wording so this doesn't keep happening?

Thanks for taking the time to explain all this.

Joel

-----Original Message-----
From: Leo & Dorothy Keeler [mailto:info@akwildlife.com]
Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2003 3:00 PM
To: Gay, Joel
Subject: Please correct misstatement
Importance: High

Joel,

I am in Helena Montana on a special assignment for the Forest Service, and Dorothy is forwarding information to me.

I thought I had notified the news media that it is improper to continue to state the McGrath Adaptive Management Team's position was: "The predator control experiment was approved by a task force that included biologists, hunters and wolf-protection advocates."

The team developed the plan and was prepared to forward it to the Governor after our final meeting and review of the science obtained from the final population studies. Those final studies indicated the moose numbers were already increasing, were near the population objective but with a low bull cow ration, and not worthy of initiating a predator control program. The problem being over harvest of bulls was stated in a ADF&G memo which Dorothy can provide to you.

It is unfortunate that the media continues to present false statements of the Teams "FINAL" actions and support of the plan. I again ask that the teams support for the program not be stated as a fact, and especially since I am likely the "Protection Advocate" that it be stated that I supported the final plan. That is simply not true. I do not support the actions and I do not believe Chip Dennerline supported it after obtaining the final scientific data.

Thanks for taking proper corrective action and sharing this information with other media.

Leo




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