The Alaska Wildlife Alliance is proud to have a community of passionate volunteers supporting our mission. With gratitude, we are excited to highlight the efforts of one of our Wildlife Ambassadors, Christine Witzmann.
Christine generously posted 200 flyers on the November 5th proposed NPS rule change around Anchorage and continues to be an active participant in AWA events and actions. We are honored to have such a passionate network of support, and wanted to share a little bit about Christine with all of you. Be with us in thanks and read our interview with Christine below:
What is your favorite animal in Alaska?
I truly love all of our wildlife. Alaska is blessed to be home to a variety of beautiful wild animals. However, wolves are my favorite animal. They are magnificent, intelligent sentient beings. They have a strong sense of family and raise wolf cubs in a family-like structure. My family has huskies who so often remind me in their behavior of their “wild cousins” – the wolves.
Having worked in the tourism industry for many years, I know that the majority of tourists come to Alaska to see wildlife. I have witnessed the excitement and joy that the sighting of a wolf or bear brings to a whole bus of international tourists. It makes financial sense to protect wildlife because so many jobs in Alaska depend on tourism! I believe we need to protect Alaskan wildlife because, as a civilized culture, we understand that protecting is better than destroying.
What wildlife issue are you most passionate about?
Trapping. I very much respect ethical hunters who quickly and humanely kill an animal in order to provide food for their family! Trapping, however, is a cruel and inhumane method to slowly torture an animal to death. No animal deserves to die in such a horrible manner. There is no need or justification to kill animals using such barbaric methods.
As a dog owner, I am constantly worried that my dogs could get caught in a trap throughout the winter months. A very small minority of trappers “own” so much of our Alaskan trails and trail heads. In fact, it is currently legal to set traps very close to trail heads and just a few feet away from popular trails. Dogs are supposed to be on a leash. If a dog gets caught, it is ‘the fault’ of the dog owner. That is just not right.
How did you hear about AWA?
In the spring of 2018, I was extremely distraught about the news that one trapper/hunter had killed 10 wolves near Denali. That picture of 10 slaughtered wolves really tore at my heart. While I was searching the Internet for more information about this horrible tragedy, and ways how to prevent such terrible events in the future, I found the website for the Alaska Wildlife Alliance. I sent them an email, asking how I can support AWA’s efforts. I wanted to do more than just send some money and becoming a member, therefore I am very happy to do my part for the protection of Alaska’s wildlife as one of AWA’s volunteers.
If you are inspired by Christine's advocacy, contact us to get involved!