Letter to Secretary Salazar From Isanotski Corp.
101 Isanotski Drive
P.O. Box 9False Pass, AK 99583
907-548-2217, FAX 548-2317
May 28, 2010
Secretary Kenneth Salazar
U.S. Dept of the Interior
1849 C Street, N.W.
Washington DC 20240
Dear Secretary Salazar:
We are writing to convey our great concern for the decline in the caribou herd here on Unimak Island, Alaska. Not only is it a concern for the Native community on Unimak Island, and our immediate neighbors, the rest of the state is watching, as well. We have received unprecedented help and offers of support from the AFN, Greg Roczicka at the Orutsararmiut Native Council in Bethel, Tanana Chiefs Conference, and many others. They see the inability of the Federal government to effectively step in and help the survival of the herd as a harbinger of things to come for their parts of the State.
The residents of False Pass and neighboring communities have historically been subsistence hunters, with caribou as one of the main staples of our diet. When the herd started its decline, that way of life was lost to us in order to preserve the herd. The herd has continued a great decline in population, even with the protection from being harvested by our people. The wolf population continues to grow and decimate more of the herd each year. These predators are in such overabundance, that they are having problems finding food. All the calves that are born to the caribou herd are being taken by predators and there is virtually no survival rate to perpetuate the herd. Add to that the aging of the bulls and cows that aren’t being replaced with younger, stronger animals and it is a major disaster.
The wolves are in poor health, starving, and in search of food. They are a problem for the residents in False Pass, as they come here and congregate around our houses. We are hoping that another incident such as the teacher in Chignik Lake doesn’t happen here. But with the lack of a reliable, readily available food source for the wolves, that possibility becomes more a reality. And even more so, since we have a number of small children in the areas that the wolves are patrolling.
The time to act is now, before the herd reaches a point of no return. This is the calving season and the newborn calves need protection that only a wolf removal can assure. It is of an emergency nature that needs immediate action. Next year will be too late. On May 26th, we participated in a teleconference in which the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) presented the biology associated with our herd’s decline. The evidence was direct and to the point on what must be done to protect this year’s calves. I have attached a copy of a previous letter on the subject, as well as a recent AFN resolution regarding predator control, and the power point presentation produced by ADF&G.
We need to protect this year’s calves and the herd now, in order to preserve it and help it reach a healthy, self sustaining number. Please act immediately and direct the USFWS to issue the appropriate permits to the State of Alaska to allow them to implement the protection of the calving grounds this spring. We support and welcome the ADF&G’s efforts to control the wolf population in order to give the caribou herd a better chance at recovery.
Nancy Dushkin, President
Cindy Beamer, General Manager
Posted: June 1, 2010