ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- An effort to round up cattle grown wild after nearly a century of roaming on a remote Alaskan island has failed and most of the animals were shot, federal officials said.
About 100 of the long-horned beasts, described as too tough to domesticate and a threat to other wildlife, were gunned down on Simeonof Island by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service employee, officials said Friday.
The cattle have roamed freely on the island since they arrived in the mid-1890s and have resisted all attempts to corral them, officials said.
'The cattle are too wild and they burst right through the corral,' said Sally Crandall of the Shumagin Corp., the Aleut group that hoped to domesticate them for beef herds after the Fish and Wildlife Service announced plans to shoot them.
One beast charged Shumagin President Dick Jacobsen, Crandall said, and he had to shoot the charging animal.
'They busted right through the barbed wire,' said Carl Carlson, one of the Sand Point residents who journeyed to Simeonof to help in an aborted roundup. Carlson said cows bolted right through the corral, snapping the barbed wire.
Seventy two of the animals were shot during the week on nearby Caton Island and 90 more were to be shot on Chernabura Island, officials said.
The three islands are part of the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge and the government said the cattle were destroying the islands' wildlife habitat.
Although the roundup did not come off as planned, Crandall and Carlson said an attempt would be made to get 30 smaller, less aggressive animals off the island and move them to Unga Island, near Sand Point, as originally planned.
With 100 older and more aggressive animals killed, the smaller roundup might be successful, they said.