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TOGIAK: A Tale of Three Villages
Alaska Region, December 10, 2008
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The key to success: convincing people to quit killing cows and allow the moose population to grow.
The key to success: convincing people to quit killing cows and allow the moose population to grow. - Photo Credit: n/a
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Moose population growth (2002-2008) along the Goodnews and Kanektok Rivers.
Moose population growth (2002-2008) along the Goodnews and Kanektok Rivers. - Photo Credit: n/a

In 2002, Togiak National Wildlife Refuge and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game initiated an effort to work with the southwestern Alaska villages of Goodnews Bay, Platinum, and Quinhagak to manage moose populations. At that time, there were virtually no moose in the vicinity of these villages, and the occasional pioneer that ventured into the area was harvested immediately. Given the remote nature of these Bering Sea communities, law enforcement was not a successful management tool. Thus, the two agencies asked the villages to work cooperatively to encourage growth of the moose populations, and the primary action to be taken was to quit harvesting moose until the populations reached sustainable levels.

 

Goodnews Bay and Platinum agreed to follow this strategy while Quinhagak chose not to.  Over the following years, Togiak Refuge and the cooperating villages met annually to discuss progress and village residents assisted in moose population surveys. As a result, the moose population in the Goodnews River drainage rose rapidly while there was no progress in the Kanektok River drainage (of which Quinhagak is part of). In the spring of 2008, the Goodnews drainage population had risen to a harvestable level, and a moose season was established there. In fall 2008, the people of Goodnews Bay and Platinum harvested 13 bulls (having an equivalent grocery store value of about $50,000).  

 

Moose remain scarce in the Kanektok drainage. Using the example of successful management by the people in the Goodnews drainage, Togiak Refuge will continue to encourage the residents of Quinhagak to work toward the development of a sustainable moose population. For additional information or questions please contact Refuge biologist Andy Aderman at (907)842-8406.

 


Contact Info: Terry Fuller, 907-842-1063 ext. 8419, terry_fuller@fws.gov



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