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Wildlife is Worth Billions to the Alaskan Economy

The Economic Importance of Alaska's Wildlife in 2011It is no surprise that wildlife viewing and hunting is important to Alaskans and visitors to the state alike. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) commissioned the firm of ECONNorthwest to evaluate data related wildlife activity recorded in 2011. According to the study, wildlife is worth billions to the Alaskan economy.

During 2011, nearly a million households participated in hunting or wildlife viewing in Alaska. Some 23 percent of the trips were related to hunting, while 868,000 households went wildlife viewing. Alaska resident households averaged 30 wildlife related trips per year, mostly connected to hunting. Visitors to the state averaged just over one wildlife viewing trip per year.

A total of $3.4 billion was spent by both residents and visitors on wildlife viewing and hunting activities in 20111. Residents within the state spent about $2 billion on these trips. After considering the economic multiplier effects of this spending, wildlife activities generated $4.1 billion in economic impact, $1.4 billion in payments to labor and supported at least 27,000 jobs. Read More »

Trap and Snare Safety for Pet Owners

Leghold Trap - Photo Library of CongressTrap and snare safety for pet owners becomes important where animals are allowed to run off-leash without supervision. Pets wandering loose on public lands run the risk of encountering a leg hold trap or snare during the winter fur-trapping season. Quick action is vital to preventing injury or making the situation worse.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has published a guide titled Trap Safety for Pet Owners that can help with an inadvertent encounter with a trap or snare. The Department notes trappers should always avoid setting their equipment near homes or close to popular trail sites. It is also noted that pets should be kept under control and owners need to realize traps may be set in the outdoor areas where they recreate. Traps don’t pose the only outdoor danger for free roaming pets. Many dogs cannot resist confrontation with numerous porcupines found in the woods.    Read More »

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McNeil River Bear Viewing Permits Due March 1

Brown bear in McNeil River State Game Sanctuary - Photo Credit: USDOTThe Alaska Department of Fish and Game has issued a press release concerning McNeil River bear viewing permits. McNeil River offers visitors a unique opportunity to see Brown bears up close.

The application deadline for lottery permits to visit Alaska’s premier brown bear viewing site at McNeil River State Game Sanctuary is fast approaching. Online applications must be submitted by midnight on March 1, or mailed and received by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game by March 1.

Online applications and printable application forms are available at www.mcneilriver.adfg.alaska.gov through the “Permits” tab and “Viewing Permits” link. More information about visiting McNeil River is available on the website or by calling (907) 267-2257.

A nonrefundable application fee of $25 per person is required and up to three people may apply together as a group. Applications are entered into a lottery and if drawn, Alaska residents must pay a $150 permit fee and nonresidents $350.

Located 100 air miles west of Homer, the McNeil River hosts the world’s largest known gathering of brown bears; hundreds of people apply each year for permits to watch bears drawn to the river to feed on migrating salmon.

ADF&G Releases Entertaining Details About Flying Reindeer

Alaskan Caribou - Rangifer tarandus Photo by Alan SorumIn the spirit of the season, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) has published a detailed species profile for Santa’s flying reindeer. Heard, but seldom seen, this rare animal is popular with children across the world.

In a press release, ADF&G says, “Santa’s reindeer (Rangifer tarandus saintnicolas magicalus) look very similar to common reindeer or caribou, but have many characteristics—including the ability to fly—that distinguish them from the seven other common subspecies. In Europe, caribou are called reindeer, but in Alaska and Canada only the semi-domesticated form is called reindeer. All caribou and reindeer throughout the world are considered to be the same species, and, including Santa’s reindeer, there are eight subspecies. Alaska has mostly the barren-ground subspecies and one small herd of woodland caribou.”

The species profile for Santa’s reindeer is available on the ADF&G website at www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=santasreindeer.main This profile includes a complete species description, audio recordings, drawing of reindeer sign, research information, helpful hints for serving reindeer snacks and making observations, and additional resources about caribou in Alaska.

Enjoy the holiday season!

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