Although the Alaska Board of Game earlier this year approved aerial wolf hunts on the Kenai Peninsula to help boost moose populations, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game will wait at least a year to learn more about the wildlife populations before starting to shoot.
“We want to have the best information possible so that we’re most effective in what we do to improve the moose population on the Kenai,” Fish and Game biologist Larry Van Daele told the Alaska Public Radio Network.
In January, the seven-member state Board of Game voted to extend predator control to two Kenai Peninsula game management units – 15A, west of Cooper Landing and north of the Sterling Highway and 15C, south of Kasilof and west of Kenai Fjords National Park.
But Doug Vincent Lang, acting director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, said more basic science information was needed to begin predator management and later judge its effectiveness. “I thought it was worthwhile to spend some additional time to collect that foundational science to inform how best to proceed in the future,” Vincent Lang told The Associated Press.
John Toppenberg, a board member of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, argued that the main problem for Kenai moose was a reduction of good habitat following 60 years of wildfire suppression on the Kenai that harmed feeding prospects for moose.
“What they had proposed really had no scientific logic behind it,” Toppenberg told the AP. “It was purely, ‘Let’s kill wolves in order to artificially inflate moose.’ ”