Despite opposition from over 400,000 Americans, the Trump administration has finalized a rule that will allow for the shooting of wolves and their pups, as well as bears and their cubs, in dens on national preserves in Alaska. This ruling comes on the heels of a proposed regulation that would allow for bear baiting in the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge and eliminate federal trapping permit requirements.
These regulations essentially defer to state hunting regulations on federal lands in Alaska, and the two bodies could not have goals further in opposition. The goal of federal lands is the conservation of scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife and their natural systems. The primary purpose of the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge is to conserve fish and wildlife in their natural diversity, including wolves and bears.
The state’s goal? To maximize game harvests for hunters. And because game species view apex predators as threats, this often results in aggressively liberal hunting regulations of bears and wolves (such as the aforementioned shooting of animals in dens). The state of Alaska has long been known for its gross mismanagement of predator populations.
Federal lands have their own management policies, and state regulations have no business there. We must keep Alaska wildlife refuges as just that: refuges, not hunting farms.
For more information and ways that you can speak out against these new propositions, check out the Defenders of Wildlife article by Pat Lavin here.