Wildlife Conservation Awareness –
- The Trump administration just scrapped an Obama-era ban on a series of hunting practices that limited how hunters killed bears and wolves on Alaskan national preserves.
- Hunters will soon be able to blind bears with lights, hunt them down with dogs, and bait them with human food like doughnuts.
- They’ll also be able to kill wolves and coyotes in summer, when mothers wean pups, and it will be legal to shoot caribou from motorboats or while they’re swimming.
- Some Alaskan politicians have welcomed the rollbacks, but conservationists have called them “amazingly cruel,” The Guardian reported.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Hunters in Alaska will soon be able to blind brown bears with bright lights and bait them with human food before killing them, after the Trump administration just ended an Obama-era ban on controversial hunting practices on national preserves.
On Tuesday, the National Park Service Policy published changes to game-hunting regulations in the Federal Register, scrapping a 2015 rule that restricted practices on more than 20 million acres of Alaskan federal land.
The rollbacks, which have been in the works since 2018, include letting hunters use artificial lights and dogs to catch black bears and cubs.
Previously, hunting bears with cubs or hunting the cubs themselves was banned.
Hunters will be able to catch brown bears using human food, like doughnuts soaked in grease. They’ll also be able to kill wolves and coyotes in summer, when mothers wean young.
It’ll also be legal to shoot caribou from motorboats and while they’re swimming.
Increasing hunters’ and fossil fuel companies’ access to land has been a focus for the Trump administration. Hunting reforms, in particular, have been championed by the president’s son Donald Trump Jr., a well-known hunter, The New York Times reported.
The Obama administration enacted the 2015 ban, saying it was necessary to avoid artificially reducing Alaska’s predators, which could destabilize the ecosystem, The Guardian reported.
But the current administration claims the ban wasn’t consistent with the rest of Alaska’s hunting regulations, which aim to kill predators to increase caribou populations for human hunters.
Alaskan leaders have welcomed the law change. Gov. Michael J. Dunleavy, a Republican, called lifting the ban “a step toward acknowledging Alaska’s rightful control over fish and wildlife resources all across the state.”
Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the change protected Alaskan traditions and upheld local rights.
But in May, when the White House was finalizing the change, Jesse Prentice-Dunn, policy director for the nonpartisan conservation group Center for Western Priorities, told The Guardian that the pre-2015 regulations were “amazingly cruel.”
The rollback is “just the latest in a string of efforts to reduce protections for America’s wildlife at the behest of oil companies and trophy hunters,” Prentice-Dunn said.
Eddie Grasser, director of wildlife conservation for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, told The Times the methods would be used mostly by people hunting for their livelihoods.
“Living off the land is a critical component of rural Alaska lifestyle, so those methods that people are upset about, and I understand why and I understand the misconception, the fact is those are primarily methods that are used by subsistence users in the state of Alaska,” he said.
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“The regular hunters in the state don’t hunt that way and neither do the residents that are coming in especially ones that are guided,” he said.
The ban ends in 30 days.
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