ANCHORAGE — A federal judge yesterday denied the state of Alaska’s request for a preliminary injunction to kill wolves, a step it said was needed to protect a caribou herd on an island in the Aleutian chain that is a subsistence food source for rural Alaskans there.
US District Judge H. Russel Holland said that although sympathetic to the state’s argument, he had to abide by law when ruling against the state’s request to immediately conduct predator control in the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on Unimak Island.
“Somebody’s governmental pride will be bruised here and there is no avoiding that,’’ Holland said, before ruling in favor of the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
“It is the federal agency’s prerogative to decide what they have decided.’’
The state argued that without emergency intervention, the Unimak Island caribou herd — the only island caribou herd in the United States — will continue to decline and die out if nothing is done.
But the US Fish and Wildlife Service argued it is bound by certain environmental laws that must be considered, and that takes time.
In the meantime, it said it has been working with the state on the problem of the declining herd.