The environmental Left had a hissy fit when Sarah Palin ordered the hunting of wolves from helicopter to protect the dying caribou herds of the Alaska peninsula, which were threatened with extinction.
Turns out the Governor knew what she was talking about:
Slaughtering wolves on the Alaska Peninsula appears to have had the desired effect — more caribou got a chance to live, according to biologists with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game.
As ugly and as politically incorrect as the wolf killing might seem to some, they said, the helicopter gunning that took place earlier this year saved caribou, especially young caribou, from being eaten alive.
Fall surveys of the Southern Alaska Peninsula caribou herd completed in October found an average of 39 calves per 100 cows. That’s a dramatic improvement from fall counts of only 1 calf per 100 cows in 2006 and 2007.
The success of past wolf-control programs, and of some of those still under way elsewhere in the state, has varied significantly, depending on what predators were involved. In some cases, bears, eagles and climate have proved to have more influence on calf survival than wolves.
In this case, however, even some groups staunchly opposed to Alaska wolf-control efforts are conceding the removal of 28 wolves appears to have played a major role in caribou calf survival.
The shortsighted arrogance of so-called "environmentalist" and "animal rights" groups never fails to amaze me. As much as they might desire it, it’s impossible to return to a pre-Human state of nature that’s perfectly balanced — if such a balance ever existed. The fact is that Alaskans depend on caribou for a major source of their meat, and the uncontrolled growth of the wolf pack threatened that. Far from being cruel, this was an example of responsible wildlife management: not only did it restore the caribou herd, but it prevented starvation among the wolves due to a failure of the caribou herd, or their turning to other prey, such as humans, out of desperation.
Life isn’t a Disney movie, and sometimes the greatest threat to animals comes from those who think they’re saving them.
(hat tip: Ed Morrissey)