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End Aerial Wolf Hunting Video Transcript


(Voiceover) Alaska Governor Sarah Palin has just supported a $400,000 state-funded campaign to "educate" Alaskans about wolf killing.

Why? Governor Palin is afraid that Alaskans will vote to end the current aerial gunning program for the third time in an upcoming ballot initiative.

(Wolf footage) (Voiceover) Alaska residents have twice voted to ban aerial wolf hunting-- first in 1996 and again in 2000. Both times, the Alaska Legislature overturned the will of the people and allowed the Board of Game to re-create the programs after the two-year initiatives expired. 671 wolves have been shot by Alaska residents in private aircraft over the past four years. And, what's worse, other states are looking to Alaska to justify beginning aerial wolf hunting programs of their own.

(Black Screen with text, "Why?")

(Black Screen with text, "The hunting lobby has taken over wildlife management in Alaska by getting the Intensive Game Management Law passed.")

(Black Screen with text, "Its most radical hunters fill almost every seat of the Board of Game, the group that establishes regulations which are supposed to manage wildlife for all Alaskans.")

(Black Screen with text, "Board of Game Chairman Mike Fleagle expresses the law's intent is to benefit hunters at the expense of other wildlife user groups")

(Video of Board of Game chairman Mike Fleagle's testimony, "Like I said, I was on the Board when this Intensive Management law was written. That was the intent of the law, was to re-allocate the harvestable surplus of game animals from predators to humans.")

(Black Screen with text, "What?")

(Bull moose footage) (Voiceover) Re-allocate from predators to humans. That means to kill wolves and bears so there's more game for humans to shoot. But up to 73% of those humans have turned out to be sport or trophy hunters, not subsistence hunters who need the meat.

(Black Screen with text, "Help us end aerial hunting by supporting the Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act.")

(Caribou herd footage) (Voiceover) This bill will close a loophole in the Federal Airborne Hunting Act that game managers in Alaska have been taking advantage of, and keep aerial hunting from spreading to other states. Alaska's hunting abuses were responsible for creating the Act and those abuses continue today.

(Pie chart of Alaska's population in 1900) (Voiceover) It all began in 1900. Alaska's total population was about 64,000.

(Dall sheep ram footage) (Voiceover) Even back then, over-hunting and predator control were big issues. Denali National Park was created in 1917 because hunters were decimating Dall sheep.

(Voiceover) Today, evidence of over hunting abounds.

(Black Screen with text, "Even the hunting guides complain of too many urban hunters.")

(Black Screen with text, "Consider Master Guide Phil Driver's testimony at the Board of Game meeting in March, 2007")

(Video of Phil Driver Testimony: "More and more and more, non-residents are coming to Unit 23 to hunt. If you listen closely, you can hear the stampede coming. They ususally go on day hunts from the village by boat and hunt along the way, but as they go up the river, all the caribou crossings have campsites on them now. You see unlimited duration of camps on these crossings. Camp after camp after camp. You see big camps put up of eight, nine, ten tents that get traded in and out periodically of new hunters. The camp never moves. It just stays there. ")

(Voiceover) Add to that poaching, severe winters, the lack of enforcement, and then ask, "Are predators the scapegoats?"

(Pie chart of Alaska's population in 2006) (Voiceover) By 2006, Alaska's population had grown to a little over 670,000.

(Pie chart of comparing Alaska's population in 1900 versus 2006) (Voiceover) If game was scarce enough to warrant cries for predator control when Alaska's total population was fewer than 64,000, what would a tenfold increase in population do? Simple. In 1994, The Alaska Outdoor Council, backed by members of the NRA, got the Legislature to pass SB 77, the Intensive Game Management Law.

(Caribou bull herd footage) (Voiceover) This law mandates that when game numbers drop below what is desired for human harvest, predators will be killed.

(Voiceover) If that wasn't bad enough, the Board of Game ignored both public and science-based concerns in setting harvest goals. They took the artificially high, peak population numbers created after decades of aerial wolf control and poisoning, and used those estimates to set population and harvest targets for each Game Management Unit.

Protests to a Board of Game made up of only hunters and trappers were ignored.

(Cow moose feeding in pond footage) (Voiceover) Legislation makes all Alaskan hunters subsistence hunters, regardless of need. And urban hunters have fought against a subsistence preference for rural Alaskans for decades. Why? Polls have shown that the public may accept predator control if done to meet true subsistence needs.

(Voiceover) So urban hunters hide behind the subsistence label to pursue their favorite pastime unhindered and unchallenged.

(Voiceover) In fact, based on the 2005 harvest records, the majority of successful hunters in 3 of the 5 active wolf control areas are urban and non-resident trophy hunters, not the local subsistence hunters who need the meat.

(GMU 13ABC&E map) (Voiceover) In this and the following areas of the map, predator control is in effect and airplanes were used to shoot wolves. Urban and trophy hunters killed 73% of the game taken.

(GMU 12/20E map) (Voiceover) In this area, urban and trophy hunters shot 59% of the game.

(GMU 16B map) (Voiceover) And in this area, they bagged 58%.

(Voiceover) Why haven't hunters been managed better? Consider the title of the newsletter of the Board of Game

(Voiceover) Its called All You Can Eat.

(http://www.alaskawolfkill.com/pred_cntrl_2004-03-30.pdf ) (Voiceover) In 2004, areas that were eligible for predator control based on artificially high moose harvest objectives and the Intensive Game Management Law included approximately 40% of Alaska. And during the last Board of Game meeting, there were cries for more, including all federal lands.

(Voiceover) If you want to artificially boost moose and caribou numbers in an area, killing all the predators there does work, in the short term. But it soon leads to population booms and then crashes as habitat is destroyed and the land struggles to recover. That is what they are trying to prevent in Unit 20A. Predators have been decimated, and the moose population now exceeds the carrying capacity of the land. Did the Game Board limit the taking of predators so nature could return balance? No. Now they're killing cows and calves.

(Voiceover) Supporters of wolf control argue that their wolf hunting programs are based on sound science. Here's what the Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game Regional Director Jeff Hughes said at a Board of Game meeting in March, 2004:

(Video of Jeff Hughes testimony: "We have black bears, brown bears and wolves. They're all taking moose calves. And we're going to be vulnerable to criticism and we're going to be unable to assess the results of a wolf control program without having at least a rudimentary understanding of which, what are the serious predators out there, and how many are they taking? Should we be concentrating on black bears, brown bears, wolves, or all three? And we just don't have that level of confidence in the biology for (GMU)16b. When I started out I said our recommendation was that the board not initiate a program at this meeting. And that's where we're at.")

(Black Screen with text, "Board of Game member Ben Grussendorf had this to say.")

(Video of Ben's testimony: "When we were all up in Anchorage discussing predator control with the Governor, he indicated to us that he was all with us and for us, but make sure we have the sound science behind it, make sure we had the science so we'd have something to stand on. We don't have it here.")

(Black Screen with text, "Neither could justify predator control.")

(Black Screen with text, "The Board approved it anyway.")

(Black Screen with text, "Board of Game Chairman Mike Fleagle, frustrated that they did not have support, presented his justification to approve predator control")

(Video of Board of Game Chairman Mike Fleagle's testimony: "At this stage in the game, I think we can jockey back and forth in the question and answer with the Department, but we are not going to get out of them what were asking for right now which is a nod of approval that we should go forward. If the Board finds that we have adequate rationale for doing so, then Jeff's objections & Departments objections shall be heard and considered but they will be overridden.")

(http://www.alaskareport.com/news/z49999_corrupt_bastards.htm ) (Voiceover) The depth of Alaska's political corruption is now receiving national headlines. Is it unreasonable to assume that it doesn't end with votes for oil interests? Why else would the Legislature defy two successful ballot initiatives banning aerial wolf hunting and reinstate it two years later, the moment it was legal for them to do so?

(Series of Alaska scenery and wildlife images) Alaska is an American icon - the last bastion of wilderness. International travelers flock to Alaska to experience its grandeur, its scenery, but most of all, its wildlife, which, oftentimes, has been hunted to near extinction in their homeland. America's wolves are a world treasure and it is the duty of our elected officials to be their responsible guardians.

(Wolf image in fall colors) Don't let Alaska's politicians overturn the will of the people for the third time.

(Running wolf image in snow) Don't let this loophole encourage other states to begin aerial wolf hunting programs of their own.

(Black Screen with text, "Help us stop this outrage at the Federal level.")

(Black Screen with text, "Tell your Representative to support the Protect America's Wildlife (PAW) Act.")

(Black Screen with text, "Please visit www.alaskawolfkill.com to send a message to your Congressman NOW.")



(Black Screen with text, "Written and edited by Dorothy Keeler. Narrated by Ron Craighead. Music by Michael Gary Brewster and/or QCCS Publishing")

(Black Screen with text, "Board of Game footage © Dorothy Keeler. Wildlife video and stills © Leo and Dorothy Keeler")

(Black Screen with text, "With special thanks to: Dr. Vic Van Ballenberghe, Karen Deatherage, Janet Hess, and my dear husband, Leo")


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