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Court Declines Request to Stop the Killing February 08, 2007 1:47 PM


Court Declines Request to Stop the Killing

Anchorage, AK -- A State Superior Court judge today denied a preliminary injunction blocking the state from allowing significant reductions in wolf and bear populations by private hunters using airplanes. The injunction was requested as part of a lawsuit filed by Defenders of Wildlife, The Alaska Wildlife Alliance and the Alaska Chapter of the Sierra Club in August that challenges Alaska's aerial gunning programs, which cover more than 40 million acres of Alaska's interior and could result in the killing of more than 70-80 percent of the wolves in several areas.

"We are disappointed that Alaska's ill-advised aerial gunning program will continue," stated Karla Dutton, Director of Defenders of Wildlife's Alaska office. "Alaska's aerial predator control program is based on incomplete, faulty science and goes against widespread public opinion in Alaska. However, this is just a preliminary decision. We are reviewing our options going forward. It is clear, based on the recent submission of nearly 57,000 signatures, that when Alaskan voters have another chance to vote on this issue, they will once again vote to ban the aerial gunning of wolves."

"This lawsuit is a result of the State's failure to follow the public process and the Board of Game's continued focus on single species management. We really hope the new governor will encourage a more balanced, inclusive approach, and do the same with her upcoming appointments to the board of game, in spite of the Court's ruling today," said John Toppenberg, Executive Director of The Alaska Wildlife Alliance.

"This is just a preliminary ruling in the case, but it means the State's drastic predator reductions can continue while the lawsuit continues," said Vicki Clark, Legal Director for Trustees for Alaska, a nonprofit, public interest law firm.

The Plaintiffs are represented by Trustees for Alaska, and by Valerie Brown, an Anchorage attorney in private practice.

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