Resolution on the Harvest of Wolves in Alaska

WHEREAS, the American Society of Mammalogists is concerned about the future of mammals worldwide and strongly supports the conservation and responsible use of wild mammals based on sound and accurate scientific knowledge; and

WHEREAS, we are disturbed by the potential mismanagement of large mammalian carnivores and their ungulate prey in Alaska; and

WHEREAS, some new predator-control programs approved by the Alaska Board of Game do not meet scientific standards required for the sound management of these valuable natural resources; and

WHEREAS, for most of the State, no biologically sound plans document the current status of predator and prey populations to adequately monitor the effectiveness of predator control; and

WHEREAS, sufficient data do not exist for adaptive management as recommended by the biological standards and guidelines set forth by the National Research Council of the National Academies for monitoring the effectiveness of predator-control programs in Alaska; and

WHEREAS, the Alaskan environment and its mammalian predator and prey populations have changed over the years and historical population estimates likely are inaccurate; and

WHEREAS, the Alaskan environment may no longer support historical densities of prey species, and current reliable estimates of ungulates populations and their carrying capacities are required for sound management, rather than relying on historical population estimates as the basis for harvest; and

WHEREAS, management in the absence of adequate data cannot be scientifically justified or considered sound or wise;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Society of Mammalogists, meeting at their 86th Annual Meeting at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, Massachusetts on 16-21 June 2006, calls upon the Governor of Alaska and the Alaska Board of Game to collect reliable data on populations of large carnivores and ungulates and to work closely with professional wildlife biologists to ensure the sound design of predator-control programs. We further recommend that assessment of predator control be conducted with approaches of sufficient scope, duration, and spatial scale to implement adaptive-management practices that will ensure the conservation of the Alaskan ecosystem and its unique mammalian fauna.