Two memos from the Department of Interior may undo years of work and public comment that helped shape wildlife regulations in Alaska. The memos instruct NPS and USFWS to redo regulations that protect bears and wolves on National Preserves in Alaska and on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
These regulations prohibit practices such as using bait to hunt bears, and killing cubs or sows with cubs. A rewrite puts protections for Alaska bears and wolves at risk in Preserves and Refuges. Read the full press release for details.
The State of Alaska filed a related lawsuit in January 2017 to dismantle the recently finalized regulations that provide protections to Alaska bears and wolves, along with all wildlife. Trustees filed on behalf of 15 conservation groups to defend against those lawsuits.
Undermining intent of Preserves and Refuges
“Rewriting regulations founded on good science and public input to meet a state objective to kill predators to increase game populations undermines the whole intent behind our Preserves and Refuges. The Department of Interior has the responsibility to prohibit state regulations that conflict with the purposes of Preserves and Refuge lands.” — Pat Lavin, Alaska Representative for Defenders of Wildlife
Promoting states’ rights agenda at expense of public lands
“The Interior is basically promoting a states’ rights agenda instead of good science at great cost to our public lands. Look at what happened with the Forty Mile area wolf control program. The state has been killing wolves in that area for years in an effort to increase the Forty Mile caribou herd. Now they admit wolves aren’t the problem. Predators are key to the health of other animals, plant life, and complex ecosystems, and manipulating them for seemingly simple ends backfires.” — Fran Mauer, retired wildlife biologist with the Alaska Chapter of Wilderness Watch
Millions travel to Alaska to see bears and wolves
“Interior’s directive to the National Park Service is outrageous. It ignores the years of work, taxpayer dollars, and the individuals who spoke up in support of park bears and wolves in Alaska during the lengthy public process. The National Park Service must have the authority to prevent the potentially indiscriminate killing of bears and their cubs on national parklands.” — Jim Adams, the Alaska Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association