Kenai Predator Control Proves to be Contentious Issue

Predator control is being proposed for two areas of the Kenai Peninsula and it’s proving to be a contentious issue for residents there. Tuesday on the statewide call in program Talk of Alaska, members of wildlife advocacy organizations debated the issue with a state fish and game biologist and a member of the state board of game. The basic issue in 15A- on the northern Kenai- is low browse opportunities for moose and in 15C- in the south-, there are not enough large bulls. In both areas, everyone agrees there are numerous problems contributing to the lack of moose on the Kenai including highway kills, black bear predation and lack of food. Ted Spraker is a retired biologist and has been a member of the board of game for four terms. He lives on the Kenai and says in the 80s, trappers were able to take a high number of wolves.

“But since the trappers are so restricted, their harvest is dropped down, I think the harvest right now is 8 to 10 wolves taken annually compared to 20, one year there was 32 taken in 15a alone and that kept the lid on the number of wolves in 15a and that option is off the table now,” Spraker said.

But Alaska Wildlife Alliance director John Toppenberg also lives on the Kenai and says wolf control there is wasted effort because there’s just not enough food to support high moose populations.

“There is an answer to all this, small controlled burns, I know they’re difficult but they’ll do our moose good and I think the department of Fish and Wildlife would find the US fish and wildlife would work with them on small controlled burns. And as far as 15 c is they’re at population goals and what more can you ask for realistically,” Toppenberg said.

The proposals for both areas will be up for a vote during the Board of Game’s Barrow meetings Nov. 11-14. Written comments can be submitted on the proposal and the meeting audio will be streamed online.

Send written comments here:

ATTN: Board of Game Comments
Alaska Department of Fish and Game
Boards Support Section
P.O. Box 115526
Juneau, AK 99811-5526
Fax: 907-465-6094

Click here to find the live stream of the meeting.

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Lori Townsend is the News Director for the Alaska Public Radio Network. She got her start in broadcasting at the age of 11 as the park announcer of the fast pitch baseball games in Deer Park, Wisconsin. She has worked in print and broadcast journalism for more than 18 years. She was the co-founder and former Editor of Northern Aspects, a magazine featuring northern Wisconsin writers and artists. She worked for 7 years at tribal station WOJB on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibway Reservation in Wisconsin, first as an on-air programmer and special projects producer and eventually News Director. In 1997 she co-hosted a continuing Saturday afternoon public affairs talk program on station KSTP in St. Paul, Minnesota. Radio brought her to Alaska where she worked as a broadcast trainer for Native fellowship students at Koahnic Broadcasting. Following her work there, she helped co-found the non-profit broadcast company Native Voice Communications with veteran Alaskan broadcasters Nellie Moore, D’Anne Hamilton, Len Anderson, Sharon McConnell and Veronica Iya. NVC created the award-winning Independent Native News as well as producing many other documentaries and productions. Townsend was NVC’s technical trainer and assistant producer of INN. Through her freelance work, she has produced news and feature stories nationally and internationally for Independent Native News, National Native News, NPR , Pacifica, Monitor Radio, Radio Netherlands and AIROS. Her print work and interviews have been published in News from Indian Country, Yakama Nation Review and other publications. Ms. Townsend has also worked as a broadcast trainer for the Native American Journalist’s Association and with NPR’s Doug Mitchell and as a freelance editor. Townsend is the recipient of numerous awards for her work from the Alaska Press Club, the Native American Journalists Association and a gold and a silver reel award from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters. Townsend was the recipient of a Fellowship at the Metcalf Institute for Marine and Environmental Reporting in Rhode Island as well as a fellowship at the Knight Digital Media Center in Berkeley. She is an avid reader, a rabid gardener and counts water skiing, training horses, diving and a welding certification among her past and current interests. ltownsend (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  |  907.550.8452 | About Lori