Conservation groups are enraged by the new “controversial” move by the Trump administration. The National Park Service and the US Fish and Wildlife Service released new legislation that allows increased hunting and trapping in many wildlife reserves all over the state.
Wildlife protection organizations condemned the hunting methods that were banned on federal lands in 2015.
Namely, with it, the federal agencies have dramatically reduced the limitations for the hunting of bears, wolves, coyotes, and even their offspring in dens.
The rules cover ten preserves in Alaska under National Park Service management including Denali National Park and Preserve.
The new legislation was encouraged by the orders issued by former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke in 2017 to provide greater recreational access for hunting and fishing in Alaska, and a memorandum recognizing states as the leading authorities for fish and wildlife management.
Hunters will be allowed to bait brown and black bears with human food, and even artificial light, to kill wolves and coyotes in their dens during the season when mothers wean their young, to use dogs to hunt bears and to hunt swimming caribou from motorboats.
For the first time, Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will allow brown bear hunting in ‘registered bait stations’ too.
Trump administration reversed the Obama-era bans, which restricted the hunting and trapping of the wildlife in all national parks.
Hunting on nature preserves in Alaska will become effective on July 9, and it will be again controlled by the state rather than the federal government.
Conservation groups criticize these harsh measures. They claim that this cruel move will encourage merciless hunting methods.
Ben Williamson, the program director at World Animal Protection US said:
“Allowing the killing of bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens is barbaric and inhumane. It takes no skill or cunning to lure bears with donuts and shoot caribou from motorboats. The killing of animals for enjoyment or sport not only causes mass suffering to wildlife, but it threatens whole ecosystems and wildlife habitats.
Around the world, places once famous for hunting are finding greater value in preserving their wildlife for viewing rather than killing. There’s more to environmental protection than leaving enough animals for the next generation to shoot and kill. Together, we need to commit to ending the use of wild animals for entertainment.”
On the other hand, hunting organizations and groups of tribes from the Alaskan interior state claim that these legislation changes support subsistence and sport hunters.
Victor Joseph, chair of the Tanana Chiefs Conference that represents 42 tribes of the Alaska interior, stated:
“The previous limitations enacted in 2015 threatened our way of life and our centuries-long sustainable management practices.”
Alaska Governor Michael J. Dunleavy added that the reversal “confirms the sovereign authorities the state has with respect to managing wildlife on our national preserve lands. This is a step towards acknowledging Alaska’s rightful control over fish and wildlife resources all across the state.”