Murkowski Pursuing “Sensible Options” for Caribou and Cattle on Remote Alaska Islands

Skeptical Senator Contacts U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Recent Decisions

Senator Lisa Murkowski today followed up with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) – the day after a face-to-face meeting with FWS Director Dan Ashe reiterate the need for the agency to reconsider some recent decisions involving the use of taxpayer dollars.  In the past few weeks, the FWS announced it was planning to spend federal resources to send hunters out to the remote island of Kagalaska to remove any caribou that may have swam there from Adak, as well as conduct an environmental impact study related to cattle on Chirikof Island near Kodiak.

In a letter (attached) to the Fish and Wildlife Director Dan Ashe, Murkowski reiterated her belief that “there may be other less expensive and more sensible options” than FWS’ current plans.

On the Kagalaska topic, Murkowski wrote:

“I appreciate your willingness to revisit whether a federal government-funded hunt is necessary and to examine whether any removal may be completed – at a substantial savings to taxpayers – by the local community with knowledge of the area and whom will best utilize the resource.  At a minimum, if a hunt does proceed this year, a local resident should be allowed to participate, which you indicated should be possible.”

With regards to the Chirikof cattle, she wrote:

“These cattle have inhabited the island for decades, and according to a 2014 survey, more than 2000 cattle inhabit the island today.  Beyond the cattle and other wildlife, the island is uninhabited.  The Service is in the process of preparing a Draft Environmental Impact Statement that may recommend the cattle be removed.  During our meeting, we agreed that such an action would be difficult and expensive.”