Donald Trump’s administration is angling to amend hunting regulations for national preserves in Alaska, and not for the better. Announced this week, the proposed changes would reverse Obama-era rules that forbid hunting methods the Sierra Club described as cruel and extreme. Among these methods? Baiting bears with human food and shooting wolf pups and bear cubs in their dens.
The National Park Service (NPS) announced the proposal this week, saying it would toss out 2015 regulatory provisions banning hunting practices that Alaska allows on state land. Their proposal would affect national preserves, but not national parks. The Associated Press reported that increasing hunting rights on federal lands has been among Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke’s priorities; the Washington Post said that the NPS’s proposal is in keeping with an order from Zinke to assent to states’ wishes to expand recreational hunting.
These rules would allow Alaska officials to make the final decision about methods such as killing bear cubs with their mothers, shooting swimming caribou from a boat, targeting animals from snowmobiles or airplanes, hunting animals in their dens, baiting animals with sweets, or poisoning animals.
“Targeting cubs and mothers through baiting and other extreme hunting measures has no place on our public lands,” said Alli Harvey, an Alaska representative for the Sierra Club’s Our Wild America campaign. “Zinke is undermining science-based wildlife management and the basic premise of public lands as places for wildlife conservation. This decision overrides fundamental national environmental safeguards in the name of narrow interests.”
You can comment on the proposal on the Regulations.gov website until July 23.