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Alaska's Game Board sets new exotic pet rules

The Board of Game voted this week to allow Alaskans to own hybrids of wild cats — provided their gene pool is watered down — while rejecting calls to legalize monkeys, sloths and other exotic pets.

"I'm just relieved that little Cleo is no longer a criminal," said Edith Wilson of Anchorage, who owns a 6.5-pound Savannah cat.

The new pet rulings came during a four-day meeting on statewide hunting rules that wrapped up Monday in Anchorage. The Game Board also voted to allow hunters to kill moose and other game for Alaska Native funeral and memorial potlatches in popular hunting grounds such as the Valley and eastern Interior, while tightening reporting requirements and oversight of those hunts.

The board delayed a decision on adding a predator control program in the northern Alaska Peninsula. On Wednesday Fish and Game officials said they recommend killing wolves and transplanting bull caribou as part of a plan to stop the "imminent and perhaps irreversible" decline of a caribou herd on Unimak Island.

As recently as 2002 the Unimak herd in the Aleutian Chain numbered more than 1,200 caribou, according to Fish and Game. The latest count on the island in 2009 found fewer than 300 caribou, with a shortage of bulls in particular.

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