Senate Shoots Down Protections for Carnivores on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Mar. 21, 2017

Contact: Leigh Anne Tiffany; (202) 772-0259; ltiffany@defenders.org

 

Senate Shoots Down Protections for Carnivores on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska

WASHINGTON (Mar. 21, 2017) – Today, the Senate passed H.J. Res. 69, a Congressional Review Act resolution to rescind the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule. The regulation – in effect since September – prohibits application of Alaska’s intensive predator control policy on national wildlife refuges in the state.

Alaska’s scientifically indefensible program aims to artificially increase game populations by driving down carnivore numbers through extreme practices, including killing mother bears and cubs, killing denning wolves and pups, and trapping, baiting and using airplanes to scout and hunt bears.

The Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule is a reasonable, science-based regulation that helps protect these iconic species on public lands and supports balanced, natural ecosystems that benefit all Americans.

The House has already passed H.J. Res. 69, leaving only President Trump’s signature to enact the measure.

Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:

“Today, Congress failed not only bears, wolves and wildlife conservation, but also the American people who support balanced, scientific management of our National Wildlife Refuge System. This warped resolution condones extreme practices to kill carnivores and their young, and is a disturbing abdication of federal authority over public lands and resources owned by all Americans. President Trump should veto this threat to wildlife and our natural heritage.

“Tossing out the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule insults millions of Americans who value our wildlife and public lands, and opens the door to anti-public lands extremists seeking to impose their patently unpopular agenda on our refuges, forests, parks, grasslands, deserts and wildlife.”

Background

The state of Alaska adopted an intensive “predator control” law in 1994 designed to dramatically suppress wolves, bears and other native carnivores to artificially inflate game populations. FWS issued the Alaska National Wildlife Refuges Rule to prevent targeted killing of these species on federal refuges in Alaska. The rule helps protect native carnivores on these public lands and ensures that our national wildlife refuges are managed in accordance with fundamental federal laws to conserve species and habitats in their natural diversity.

You can read more about the Congressional Review Act here.

 

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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.