Feds Still Trying to Plan Fate of Alaska Island Feral Cattle
The Associated Press and Alaska Dispatch news
May 1, 2015
A bull stands on a former ranch road on Chirikof Island. Chirikof Islands, southwest of Kodiak Island, has some 2,000 cattle, formerly domesticated, but now mostly wild. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to figure out what to do with them.
USFWS / Steve Ebbert
Federal wildlife managers are still trying to determine the fate of hundreds of feral cattle that have long gone without caretakers on a remote, uninhabited Alaska island.
An aerial survey last fall counted 2,024 cattle on Chirikof Island, more than double an earlier estimate of 800. The animals are descendants of cattle first brought there in the late 1880s to provide meat for whaling crews and fox traders.
The Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge has long planned to remove the non-native herds, which are battering the habitat of native wildlife such as seabirds and salmon. Now refuge officials are working on a draft environmental impact statement to explore all options, including leaving at least some of the animals in place.