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Saturday, April 8, 2017

Trump signs bill to kill wolves, bears in Alaska

A gray wolf. (photo: Shutterstock)
A gray wolf. (photo: Shutterstock)


By Emily Jeffers, Center for Biological Diversity

08 April 17
 

Republicans Repeal Rules Against Cruel, Unsportsmanlike Killings of Predators in National Wildlife Refuges

resident Trump late Monday signed legislation to strip away protections implemented by the Obama administration for wolves, bears and other predators on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The bill, approved by Congress and signed by Trump, allows wolves and their pups to be killed in their dens and bears to be gunned down at bait stations.

“Because of Trump and Republicans in Congress, wolves and bears in Alaska will now be subject to cruel, unsportsmanlike killings, in violation of the very purpose of the wildlife refuge system,” said Emily Jeffers, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “These rules were repealed for one reason: to give the state of Alaska freedom to kill predators on wildlife refuges.”

In August 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized regulations that protected predators from new predator-control tactics approved by Alaska’s Board of Game.

These tactics include killing black bear cubs or mother with cubs at den sites; killing brown bears over bait; trapping and killing brown and black bears with steel-jaw leghold traps or wire snares; killing wolves and coyotes during denning season; and killing brown and black bears from aircraft.

Alaska’s predator-control activities are intended solely to artificially inflate prey populations, such as moose, for human hunting. Citing authority under the Congressional Review Act, House and Senate Republicans pushed the legislation to repeal the rules on a highly partisan vote.

“Wildlife refuges are supposed to be a haven for biological diversity, not a place where wolf pups can be killed in their dens,” Jeffers said. “Once again, this administration is ignoring science and listening only to narrow special interests.”

Predator-protection regulations in national parks are also under attack from the state of Alaska, which is challenging those regulations in federal court. The Center and its allies have intervened on behalf of the National Park Service to defend the challenged regulations.

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