Group slams Palin for allowing aerial hunting of wolves and bears

Defenders of Wildlife has put Gov. Sarah Palin in the crosshairs of a new national campaign focusing on Alaska's predator control program as an example of the governor's "wider anti-conservation agenda."

The new campaign features an Internet video in which the actress Ashley Judd says, "It is time to stop Sarah Palin and stop this senseless savagery."

The campaign, unveiled Monday, drew a response from the governor's office Tuesday.

"It is reprehensible and hypocritical that the Defenders of Wildlife would use Alaska and my administration as a fundraising tool to deceive Americans into parting with their hard-earned money," Palin said in a statement.

She called Defenders an "extreme fringe group" that she said was "twisting the truth." Palin defended Alaska's program as scientifically based and an important effort to sustain game populations for Alaska hunters.

The state's "intensive management" program targets wolves and bears in six zones where moose or caribou populations are judged to be too low. It allows hunters with permits to shoot wolves from the air. They have killed more than 800 wolves in five years and a much smaller number of bears.

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