State of Alaska Attacks Predator Protections on Public Lands
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Haley , 202-772-0247
WASHINGTON (January 14, 2017) – Yesterday the state of Alaska filed a lawsuit challenging both the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) new regulation finalized in August 2016 that protects carnivores on national wildlife refuges in the state from extreme “predator control” measures. The lawsuit also attacks The National Park Service's similar rule for protecting predators on national preserves.
Alaska’s controversial program authorizes the culling of bears, wolves and other carnivores through severe methods, including aerial gunning, baiting and trapping. It also allows the killing of mother bears and their cubs and the killing of wolves and pups in their dens.
The new rule ensures that national wildlife refuges in Alaska are managed to preserve wildlife in its natural diversity, including predator-prey relationships, instead of dramatically culling carnivores to increase populations of game species.
Statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark:
“This lawsuit is Alaska’s attempt to override federal management of federal lands in the name of increasing big game populations. The state aims to circumvent congressional mandates and the conservation mission of our National Wildlife Refuge System with its predator control policy. That’s not something the American public or the federal court should stand for.
“National wildlife refuges are intended to preserve our natural heritage, and conserve the biological integrity and diversity of wildlife populations. Where a state program is in conflict with that purpose, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a duty to act, just as the agency has done in Alaska.
“The Service’s rule will help ensure that all wildlife are secure and thriving on our national wildlife refuges, including some of our most iconic yet persecuted species like bears and wolves.”
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews