Sea otters were nearly extinct due to heavy commercial harvests until the Fur Seal Treaty of 1911 gave them full protection. An estimated 2,000 sea otters existed then, compared to as many as 160,000 by the mid-1970s. Alaska Natives may still hunt sea otters, which they use for food and other purposes.
Moose meat is also a popular food among Alaskans. Between 6,000 and 8,000 moose are hunted every year. That's 3.5 million pounds of meat. Some of meat from the moose that are hit and killed on highways is used to feed the hungry.
Puffin populations are abundant in Alaska, but they are declining in the Lower 48. Oil pollution and fishery conflicts are to blame for their decreasing numbers. Alaska Natives used to hunt the birds for food and clothing, making parkas out of puffin skins. Today federal and state laws protect their nesting colonies.
The State does not have accurate population figures for wolves, bears, lynx, fox and other species – yet thousands are legally killed each year. It is legal to hunt and trap on most National Park lands in Alaska. Though wildlife viewers represent over 80% of Alaskan's, the Alaska Board of Game (Alaska wildlife-policy decision makers) consists entirely of hunters and trappers. Less than 3% of the Alaska Department of Fish & Game's budget is devoted to wildlife viewing.
Wolves Legally/Reported Killed
Every year the population of wolves decreases. According to the table many poachers kill more and more wolves from year to year. The problem of killing wolves makes the government pay attention to the critical situation in Alaska.
The problem of extinction worries Big Game Alaska Wildlife Center. This center was created for helping animals, birds and mammals that can't fight for surviving.
Last year Big Game Alaska Wildlife Center received moose, deer, black and grizzly bears, owls, bison musk ox and a variety of game are birds to care for. Big Game Alaska is entirely self-supported and relies on customer support to continue its mission of wildlife rehabilitation.
The original members of Big Game's bison family were abandoned calves that had to be bottle-fed. The largest, named Big Boy now weighs more than 1 ton.
Bison are gregarious and live in herds whose range includes grasslands and open woodlands. They have poor eyesight and depend on their sense of hearing and smell.
Big Game Alaska has cared for and stabilized a large number of moose, the largest member of the deer family. Mattie, a 5-year-old cow moose was brought to Big Game when she was less than 5-days-old. Stray dogs in Palmer, Alaska, killed her mother. Mattie has starred in more than 10 commercials and loves to eat bananas. Seymour, a 4-year-old bull, was brought to Big Game when he was 1-year-old and faltering due to malnutrition.
Black-tailed deer are often orphaned in areas where there is active logging and the deer are run over by trucks. Big Game has rehabilitated deer from the outermost tip of Southeast Alaska, as well as deer from the Prince William Sound area. These tiny fawns usually weigh less than 5 pounds when they arrive at the wildlife center.
Black-tailed deer are smaller than their southern cousins. The antlers are similar to the mule deer, forking rather than all points coming from a single main beam. The black-tail deer is rarely found on the mainland of Alaska, preferring the islands of Alaska's coastal rain forests.
Caribou are rarely orphaned because another member of the herd will usually care for any calves who lose their mother. A number of Big Game's caribou were rescued from islands that were overpopulated and could not sustain healthy animals. To prevent starvation some animals were removed and Big Game shared in the rescue effort.
The Musk Oxen is a member of the goat family. It is an arctic survivor with a thick coat consisting of long (up to 36 inches) guard hairs covering a dense winter coat of harvestable warm fur called Qiviut. Qiviut is considered to be one of the warmest material in the world.
The two male musk oxen at Big Game Alaska are part of a research program in conjunction with the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. The under wool is combed out in May and Qiviut products are sold in the gift shop.
Musk ox populations have been drastically reduced in recent years. Hunted to extinction in Alaska in 1865 and successfully reintroduced with a small herd from Greenland in the 1930s.
Alaska is often called the last frontier and with good reason, it contains some of the most remote and unexplored wilderness areas left in the world today. Alaska has always seemed to draw those looking for adventure and the Wildlife and Nature lovers. Alaska is made up of many diverse ecological regions and each has it's own special features that makes it a unique place.
The Wildlife of Alaska is to me though, the most remarkable thing about "The Great Land", Seeing Eagle, Bear, Caribou and Moose on a daily basis never gets old, it just amazes! But we shouldn't forget that the beauty of Alaska isn't eternal. If we want to show our children where we lived we should take care of animals, birds and mammals. The problem of extinction isn't related to Alaska only. In our country this problem exists too.
And in conclusion all of us should always remember the wise advice of a great English writer John Galsworthy who said: "If you don't think about the future you will not have it."
Robert B.Weeden. Alaska. Promises to keep. – Boston, 1978.