For Immediate Release
Trump Administration Proposes Extreme Predator Control in Alaska National Preserves
WASHINGTON (May 21, 2018) – The Trump administration has proposed new regulations that roll back protections preventing extreme methods of killing predators and other wildlife in Alaska national preserves. National preserves are managed by the National Park Service (NPS) like national parks, except hunting and fishing are allowed. NPS’ proposed regulations for sport hunting and trapping in national preserves in Alaska would essentially hand over management of predators, caribou and other wildlife on national preserves in Alaska to the state.
Alaska’s express goal for managing wildlife is to artificially increase game populations by driving down carnivore numbers. Its policy would allow hunters to bait, trap and snare bears, and kill black bears and cubs and wolves and pups in their dens. The proposed regulation would also remove the current prohibition against killing defenseless caribou from boats or shore as they swim across rivers in national preserves.
Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO at Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:
“The Trump administration has somehow reached a new low in protecting wildlife. Allowing the killing of bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens is barbaric and inhumane. The proposed regulations cast aside the very purpose of national parks to protect wildlife and wild places. The National Park Service should not accept Alaska’s extreme predator control program as a suitable method of managing wildlife and their habitat.”
The state of Alaska adopted an intensive “predator control” law in 1994 designed to dramatically suppress wolves, bears and other native carnivores to artificially increase game populations. The state has since implemented aggressive predator management programs in numerous areas, which has included greatly liberalizing its sport hunting regulations statewide to further reduce predator populations.
The National Park Service promulgated regulations in 2015 that clarified that the state’s goal of reducing predators to boost prey populations was inconsistent with Park Service management obligations. Specifically, those regulations prohibited certain practices designed to dramatically reduce predator populations, including bear baiting and snaring, shooting bears and cubs in dens, and shooting wolves and pups in dens.
Last year Congress and the Trump administration enacted a Congressional Review Act resolution rescinding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s similar regulation protecting iconic carnivores on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The U.S. Department of the Interior subsequently directed the National Park Service to reconsider its regulations, particularly where they diverge from state law.
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 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 Newsroom.Defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.