The proposed rule would bring back controversial hunting methods on 20 million acres of federal public lands in Alaska, like using artificial light to kill hibernating mother black bears and their cubs in their dens, and shooting wolf and coyote pups and mothers at their dens. Photo by Alamy
A rule proposed by the federal government to reintroduce some of the cruelest of hunting methods to national preserves in Alaska has raised a chorus of outrage from conservation organizations, biologists, elected officials and American citizens, and there is still time to speak out against it.
The proposed rule would bring back controversial hunting methods on 20 million acres of federal public lands in Alaska, like using artificial light to kill hibernating mother black bears and their cubs in their dens, shooting wolf and coyote pups and mothers at their dens, using bait to attract brown and black bears, shooting vulnerable swimming caribou, including with the aid of motorboats, and using dogs to hunt black bears.
Opposition to the proposed rule is vast and diverse. Recently, more than 160 scientists voiced their opposition in two open letters, saying they are “greatly concerned by the extremely limited scientific evidence available to justify the liberalizations of hunting regulations for large carnivores that have occurred in Alaska.” The scientists also demanded that the NPS “ensure that these public lands are conserved and managed for all Americans using the best available science in accordance with congressional mandates to the NPS.”
In August, 79 members of the federal House of Representatives sent a bipartisan letter urging Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to withdraw the proposed rule.
Proponents of the proposal often wrongly argue that killing grizzly bears, wolves and other native carnivores will benefit game populations such as caribou and moose. But time and again, research shows that such persecution doesn’t help prey populations. In reality, the rule proposed by the Trump administration will only benefit a handful of trophy hunters looking to brag about slaughtering some of our nation’s most iconic wildlife.
Americans do not support the indiscriminate killing of these majestic animals. In a June 2018 poll, Alaska’s residents unequivocally condemned these methods. And last month, a flood of outrage poured across the country after details of a father and son’s April killing of a mother bear and her cubs were made public. According to an Alaska State Troopers dispatch, the pair skied to a remote den where they illegally killed the mother bear and her shrieking newborn cubs. They then attempted to cover up their crime, removing evidence and providing false documentation and accounts to the Alaska Department of Fish & Game.
Last year, we saw a similar outpouring of anger against a Congressional move to allow these same horrific hunting methods on national wildlife refuge lands in Alaska. But despite this intense opposition, the resolution passed by narrow margins in both the House and the Senate. That is why we cannot afford to be complacent.
The Humane Society of the United States has been at the forefront of this fight from the beginning, by alerting our supporters to this egregious cruelty, using the media and other tools to educate the public about these horrific methods, and defending existing protections in court. But we need determined action by citizens to stop the NPS from expanding this nightmare of animal cruelty to our national preserves in Alaska.
Please let the NPS know that you oppose the repeal of the 2015 rule prohibiting the killing of hibernating bears and their cubs using egregious hunting methods like killing hibernating black bears, shooting wolf and coyote pups and mothers at their dens, using bait to attract brown and black bears to shoot them at point blank range, shooting vulnerable swimming caribou, and using dogs to hunt black bears on national preserves in Alaska. And while you are at it, please take steps to ensure that your elected representatives in Washington land on the right side of this issue. Believe it or not, a determined special interest minority is actively seeking to ram this proposal through; we need to stand strong in the fight to preserve the integrity of our national preserve system and to protect charismatic carnivores and other animals threatened by the measure.
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