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Alaska’s Wildlife Can Breathe A Sigh Of Relief – Hopefully?

Before delving into my personal comment for this week, I want to remind our readers to listen to this week’s Pet Chat Radio broadcast, which begins with a wonderfully informative interview with master groomer, Heather Shultz, who kindly took the time to offer invaluable insights into the art and career of pet grooming. There is so much more to this profession than most realize, as Heather so eloquently explains in our interview!

Back to my personal comment and subject of this post, I just wanted to touch on Sarah Palin’s resignation. While this is a political story really, and politics have little place in our broadcast and this blog (we learned the hard way during this past election!), this does pertain to animals directly, and that is, apart from partisan politics, from a wildlife standpoint, perhaps wildlife advocates of Alaska can breathe a bit easier with this revelation. From a wildlife perspective strictly, her policies have been abysmal at best.

As reported by a September 4, 2008 Associated Press article titled, “Environmentalists say Palin’s record on wildlife are as harsh as Alaska itself,” Sarah Palin’s policies and record clearly illustrate little regard for wildlife and the environment. Beginning with her time at the National Governors Association conference spent primarily making her case to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne against classifying the polar bear as a threatened species, Sarah Palin has continually maintained troublingly dismissive environmental and wildlife policies. Some months later, she once again confronted Dirk Kempthorne, arguing against even the Bush administration that they, “didn’t use the best science in concluding that without further protection, the polar bear faces eventual extinction because of disappearing sea ice as the result of global warming.”

During her months of governor of Alaska, Palin had opposed federal marine scientists who concluded that the Cook Inlet Beluga Whale needs protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. Most appallingly, Palin has defended the right of Alaska to shoot wolves from the air for the benefit of boosting the populations of moose and caribou herds – not for the sake of the moose and caribou, but for the sole purpose of leaving more live moose and caribou for the human sport hunters to kill! Interestingly, this is a view that is contrary to that of her former running mate John McCain. Finally, Palin remains skeptical that human created greenhouse emissions are responsible for the dramatic acceleration of global warming in this century.

As a result of her harsh environmental and wildlife policies, environmentalists have nicknamed Palin the “Killa from Wasilla,” and John Toppenberg, the director of the Alaska Wildlife Alliance, has said that, “Her philosophy from our perspective is cut, kill, dig and drill,” and that she is “in the Stone Age of wildlife management and is very opposed to utilizing accepted science.”

Now of course, I know nothing of her replacement’s wildlife policies and it is difficult to envision worse, we have to retain some feeling of at least there is the potential for respite, that Alaska’s wildlife powers that be will at least gather or begin to regain some reverence for one of our nation’s most precious wildlife havens.

Roger Welton, DVM
Founder, Web-DVM

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