Quantcast

Trump Admin. Wants to Reinstate 'Cruel' Hunting Tactics in Alaska, Conservation Groups Say

Animals
Brown bears in Katmai National Park and Preserve in Alaska. NPS Photo / B. Plog

The Trump administration has proposed new regulations to overturn an Obama-era rule that protects iconic predators in Alaska's national preserves.

Wildlife protection organizations condemned the move, as it would allow hunters to go to den sites to shoot wolf pups and bear cubs, lure and kill bears over bait, hunt bears with dogs and use motor boats to shoot swimming caribou. Such hunting methods were banned on federal lands in 2015 that are otherwise permitted by the state.


The proposed rule, posted Tuesday in the federal register and pushed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, "would remove a regulatory provision issued by the National Park Service (NPS) in 2015 that prohibited certain sport hunting practices that are otherwise permitted by the State of Alaska."

Members of the public are invited to post comments on the proposed rule by 11:59 p.m. EST on July 23, 2018.

The Alaska Department of Fish and Game was "pleased to see the National Park Service working to better align federal regulations with State of Alaska hunting and trapping regulations," Maria Gladziszewski, the state agency's deputy director of the Division of Wildlife Conservation, said in an email to The Associated Press.

She added that the proposal is "progress in that direction, and we appreciate those efforts. Alaskans benefit when state and federal regulations are consistent."

NPS said lifting the prohibitions would increase hunting opportunities on national preserve land, which follow Sec. Zinke's two orders last year.

Safari Club International, a hunting advocacy group, backed the Interior's new proposal. Zinke, an avid hunter himself, created his International Wildlife Conservation Council that is mainly comprised of trophy hunters and members of the Safari Club, who advocate for federal programs that support hunting.

Conservation groups expressed outrage over the Trump administration's proposal. They contend Alaska's predator-control activities are intended solely to artificially inflate game populations, such as moose, for human hunting.

"The Trump administration has somehow reached a new low in protecting wildlife," said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO at Defenders of Wildlife, in a statement issued to EcoWatch. "Allowing the killing of bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens is barbaric and inhumane. The proposed regulations cast aside the very purpose of national parks to protect wildlife and wild places."

She added, "The National Park Service should not accept Alaska's extreme predator control program as a suitable method of managing wildlife and their habitat."

"The proposed rule sounds nothing like the Park Service I know," said Phil Francis, chair of the Coalition to Protect America's National Parks and a retired NPS veteran with more than 40 years of experience with the agency. "Under the Organic Act of 1916, the National Park Service is mandated to conserve wildlife, not exploit it through these despicable hunting practices. You don't have to be an avid hunter to know that killing bears with cubs in their dens or shooting swimming caribou from a moving motorboat are simply wrong."

The Humane Society blasted the Trump administration for reinstating "cruel" hunting practices in Alaska and is urging the public to help keep the prohibitions in place.

"Last year, when the state of Alaska and Safari Club International sued NPS to invalidate this crucial rule, the Humane Society of the United States intervened in the lawsuit to defend the rule and similar rules issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service," the group said.

"Now, in a new ploy, the NPS is claiming that due to secretarial orders issued by Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to expand hunting opportunities on federal lands and improve coordination with states, the agency is required to rescind these protections. In reality, the agency and Zinke have no authority to override Congressional protections for these federal lands."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

MStudioImages / E+ / Getty Images

By Jillian Kubala, MS, RD

Backpacking is an exciting way to explore the wilderness or travel to foreign countries on a budget.

Read More Show Less
Tim P. Whitby / 21st Century Fox / Getty Images

The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.

Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.

The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A protest march against the Line 3 pipeline in St. Paul, Minnesota on May 18, 2018. Fibonacci Blue / CC BY 2.0

By Collin Rees

We know that people power can stop dangerous fossil fuel projects like the proposed Line 3 tar sands oil pipeline in Minnesota, because we've proved it over and over again — and recently we've had two more big wins.

Read More Show Less
Scientists released a study showing that a million species are at risk for extinction, but it was largely ignored by the corporate news media. Danny Perez Photography / Flickr / CC

By Julia Conley

Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.

Read More Show Less
DoneGood

By Cullen Schwarz

Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Pixabay

Summer is fast approaching, which means it's time to stock up on sunscreen to ward off the harmful effects of sun exposure. Not all sunscreens are created equally, however.

Read More Show Less
Mark Wallheiser / Getty Images

The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.

Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.

Read More Show Less
Flooding in Winfield, Missouri this month. Jonathan Rehg / Getty Images

President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.

"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.

Read More Show Less