Hunters in the Cordova area need to properly dispose of animal carcasses in order to prevent transmission of disease and to protect the environment, says Ivy Patton, environmental coordinator for the Native Village of Eyak.
Alaska state law states that leaving any part of a harvested animal on a public road or right-of-way is littering and illegal, said Patton, who spoke out in early September because of the presence of animal carcasses on a stretch of road popular for recreational activities such as walking, jogging, bicycle riding and dog walking.
Rotting animal carcasses may contain harmful diseases that can be introduced to humans, pets, birds and other wildlife who come into contact with the rotting meat, she said.
Pet dogs can bring diseases into the family home, and scavenger birds that prey on these carcasses can carry diseases great distances to other locations, spreading disease. If carcasses come into contact with running water, diseases can be transported downstream into other bodies of water, she said.
Cordova has many hunters who bring their kills into town for butchering instead of cleaning in the field and packing the meat out and then dumping them on public roads or off bridges.
Proper disposal of those portions of animal carcasses not used by the hunter is in a landfill, cremation or by burial, she said. Guts and hides should be left in the field, out of sight or roads and trails.
Patton recommended that a possible location designated for animal carcasses be maintained and regulated with access to lime to prohibit the spread of diseases. She also recommended communitywide education regarding proper hunting and disposal methods, educational literature to be given out with hunting permits, and the patrolling of illegal dump sites by state troopers, with fines for violators.