Time to fight maneuver by Alaska congressman to allow trophy hunters, on parks and refuges, to spot grizzlies from planes and shoot them
A Congressman who shot a grizzly bear and pinned the animal to a wall in his Washington, D.C. office is trying to subvert two closely related federal rulemaking actions that would stop some of the most ruthless predator-killing practices on the most important of our federal lands in Alaska.
This week, the 435 members of the U.S. House of Representatives are expected to consider an amendment, offered by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, to block the federal government from stopping the political appointees at the Alaska Board of Game from allowing such egregious tactics as using airplanes to scout and shoot grizzly bears; luring grizzlies with pet food to get a point blank kill; killing wolf, black bear, and coyote mothers and their young at their dens; and trapping of grizzly and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and wire snares on lands administered by the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
It’s almost unimaginable that anyone would try to sanction these appalling and unsporting hunting and predator control practices anywhere, but here Young is pushing for it to happen on National Park Service land and also on national wildlife refuges. Is nothing sacred?
I urge you to call your U.S. Representative (202-225-3121) and urge him or her to oppose Representative Young’s amendment #11 to the Interior Department’s annual spending bill and to support the decision by professional federal wildlife managers to set some minimum standards on how predators will be treated on national preserves and wildlife refuges.
The Young amendment would reverse a rule adopted months ago by the National Park Service to provide some minimal protections for grizzly bears, wolves, and other predators on federal lands. The Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing a nearly identical rule for national wildlife refuges.
A statewide poll conducted by Remington Research Group in February, after the FWS proposed rule was published, showed that Alaska voters strongly support eliminating these cruel and unsporting practices on national wildlife refuges. At a series of public meetings on the proposed rules, hundreds of Alaskans turned out to support the rulemaking actions because they want these inhumane, unfair practices to end. So it’s just a false claim from Young that the people of Alaska want to see these practices of federal lands in Alaska; the polling shows exactly the opposite.
Throngs of people from around the world travel to Alaska each year for the unique opportunity to see bears, wolves, river otters, wolverines, bobcats, and lynx in America’s national parks, preserves, and refugees. In its 2016 economic report, the National Park Service found that, “In 2015, park visitors spent an estimated $1.2 billion in local gateway regions while visiting NPS lands in Alaska. These expenditures supported a total of 17.6 thousand jobs, $595.5 million in labor income, $1 billion in value added, and $1.7 billion in economic output in the Alaska economy.”
Don Young’s amendment is economic development in reverse. If his amendment is adopted, thousands of people will be robbed of the chance to see these animals in the wild. That robs Alaska of its most sustainable and ecologically friendly source of tourism dollars.
Then again, Rep. Young isn’t representing all the people of Alaska. Young, who serves on the national board of the National Rifle Association, is shilling for special interests in his state – specifically, the small crowd who hate predators and will contravene accepted ethical standards to kill them on the very lands that the federal government has authority to manage. It’s an attack on federal wildlife managers, an assault on economic development, and it’s cruel and unsporting. Congress should tell Don Young it wants nothing to do with these dreadful, life-denying plans.