September 09, 2008

Never Cry Wolf

Sarah Palin would never let science get in the way of her beliefs.

We already know she doesn't believe the science of global warming and she wants to have creationism taught in the schools. She's fought against having polar bears covered by the endangered species law because as she said, she believes there is insufficient evidence that they are endangered. (Please note she said she said this was because she held a comprehensive review of the scientific arguments to come to this conclusion. And if you believe that, I have this Bridge to Nowhere I'd like to sell you.)

Well, here's another example of her deciding that the scientists are wrong because she knows better.

Palin didn't think Alaskans should be allowed to chase wolves from aircraft and shoot them -- they should be encouraged to do so. Palin's administration put a bounty on wolves' heads, or to be more precise, on their mitts.

In early 2007, Palin's administration approved an initiative to pay a $150 bounty to hunters who killed a wolf from an airplane in certain areas, hacked off the left foreleg, and brought in the appendage. Ruling that the Palin administration didn't have the authority to offer payments, a state judge quickly put a halt to them but not to the shooting of wolves from aircraft.

Sarah Palin believes that Wolves Steal Prey From Alaskans. Nevermind that the scientists warn that the indiscriminate killing of wolves could upset the ecological balance of Alaska.

Gordon Haber is a wildlife scientist who has studied wolves in Alaska for 43 years. "On wildlife-related issues, whether it is polar bears or predator controls, she has shown no inclination to be objective," he says of Palin. "I cannot find credible scientific data to support their arguments," he adds about the state's rational for gunning down wolves. "In most cases, there is evidence to the contrary."

Last year, 172 scientists signed a letter to Palin, expressing concern about the lack of science behind the state's wolf-killing operation. According to the scientists, state officials set population objectives for moose and caribou based on "unattainable, unsustainable historically high populations." As a result, the "inadequately designed predator control programs" threatened the long-term health of both the ungulate and wolf populations. The scientists concluded with a plea to Palin to consider the conservation of wolves and bears "on an equal basis with the goal of producing more ungulates for hunters."

And if the state Department of Fish and Game will not support wiping out wolves, then she is more than willing to play hardball by moving the management of wolves to Alaska's Board of Game.

Even if Sarah Palin hasn't taken time to understand the biological theory of Trophic Cascade, you would think that she might have had a couple of hours to watch Never Cry Wolf, which might have given her a bit more insight into science of wolves. But then again, that isn't nearly as fun as shooting wolves from airplanes.

It is sad to realize how poorly nature is being served by Alaska's governor. So, what do you think Jesus would say?

Posted by Mary at September 9, 2008 12:05 AM | Science | Technorati links |