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

A Greenpeace rally to call for a presidential climate debate, in front of the DNC headquarters in Washington, DC on June 12. Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

Confronting the climate crisis is the No. 1 issue for 96 percent of Democratic voters, but it clocked only around seven minutes of airtime at the first Democratic Presidential debate Wednesday, Vox reported.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

Earlier this month, a study found that the U.S. had more capacity installed for renewable energy than coal for the first time.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials

Simple swaps that cut down on kitchen trash.

Sponsored

By Kayla Robbins

Along with the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most daunting areas to try and make zero waste.

Read More Show Less
Waterloo Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protest in London. Martin Hearn / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Money talks. And today it had something to say about the impending global climate crisis.

Read More Show Less
Sam Cooper

By Sam Cooper

Thomas Edison once said, "I'd put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power!"

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
A NOAA research vessel at a Taylor Energy production site in the Gulf of Mexico in September 2018. NOAA

The federal government is looking into the details from the longest running oil spill in U.S. history, and it's looking far worse than the oil rig owner let on, as The New York Times reported.

Read More Show Less
Golde Wallingford submitted this photo of "Pure Joy" to EcoWatch's first photo contest. Golde Wallingford

EcoWatch is pleased to announce our third photo contest!

Read More Show Less
Damage at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge from the 2016 occupation. USFWS

By Tara Lohan

When armed militants with a grudge against the federal government seized the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in rural Oregon back in the winter of 2016, I remember avoiding the news coverage. Part of me wanted to know what was happening, but each report I read — as the occupation stretched from days to weeks and the destruction grew — made me so angry it was hard to keep reading.

Read More Show Less