New sport hunting regulations for national preserves in Alaska were adopted last month by the National Park Service (NPS). They ban practices promoted by the Alaska State Board of Game to reduce populations of wolves and bears.
NPS proposed making the changes one year ago. Trustees for Alaska representing ten conservation groups (see below for list) reviewed the proposed regulations and submitted comments advocating for stronger predator protections. And the agency listened: NPS came out with final regulations that adopted the stronger protections.
The new regulations now ban these sport hunting methods in national preserves:
- Baiting of both black and brown bears
- Snaring black bears
- Hunting black bears with unleashed dogs
- Spotlighting dens to kill black bears
- Killing bear cubs or sows with cubs
- Killing wolves or coyotes during the denning season
- Killing of swimming big game
The root of the differences between the Board of Game’s and NPS’ restrictions on the hunting of predators is their very different mandates. The Board of Game is focused on ensuring more game (primarily prey species like caribou and moose). The NPS has a mandate to protect ecosystems, which includes both predators and prey. Manipulation of wildlife populations is expressly prohibited by NPS management policies.
Normally the NPS allows the State’s regulations to apply to sport hunting on NPS lands, but the State refused to work cooperatively with NPS or exclude NPS lands from State policies that conflict with NPS management. NPS’ regulations ensure wolves and bears are protected within Alaska’s national preserves from hunting aimed at reducing predator populations. This is a great step forward for predators that have been subject to severe culling under the State’s policies.
Clients: National Parks Conservation Association, Denali Citizens Council, Center for Biological Diversity, The Wilderness Society, Defenders of Wildlife, Copper Country Alliance, Northern Alaska Environmental Center, Alaska Center for the Environment, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Audubon Alaska
Read our story on the proposed regulations.