Alaska lawmaker plots yet another assault on wolves, grizzlies on federal lands

By on September 5, 2017 with 12 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

He’s back. Alaska Congressman Don Young, that’s who.

After spearheading a resolution to repeal a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) rule restricting particularly cruel and unsporting methods of killing grizzly bears, wolves, and other native carnivores on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, he’s now taking aim at wildlife on Alaska lands managed by the National Park Service. Young plans to offer an amendment this week, during consideration of a massive spending bill, that would override federal wildlife management professionals on the ground in Alaska and open up 20 million acres of national preserves to ruthless trophy hunting and killing practices.

The February vote against wildlife in the House was one of the most disgraceful attacks ever against wildlife protection, and now it appears that round two is upon us. It’s critical that you call your U.S. Representative (202-225-3121) and urge him or her to oppose the Young amendment to allow the baiting of grizzly bears and the hunting of wolves in their dens on lands managed by the National Park Service.

It’s bad enough that Congress has cleared the path for trophy hunters and others to kill predators on national wildlife refuges with these unsporting methods. But to do it on National Park Service lands – the same agency that manages Yellowstone, Yosemite, Everglades, and other jewels in this system of lands that attract more than 300 million visitors a year – is even more unconscionable.

The attack is coming from Young and a few allies in Congress, and also from newly anointed political appointments at the Department of the Interior. In August, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) released a leaked memo that appeared to show that newly minted higher-ups at the Interior Department had barred top officials at NPS from speaking out against a Congressional amendment to undercut the Park Service rule protecting wildlife. A senior Interior Department official sent the memo back to the NPS officials with cross-out markings on nearly all of the objections raised by NPS leaders objecting to the state of Alaska unleashing trophy hunters intent on slaughtering grizzly bears and wolves on these federal lands.

It is time to stand up against this assault on wildlife. The Alaska Board of Game wants to run Alaska like a giant game farm, assaulting predators in a ham-handed attempt to inflate moose and caribou populations. But recent data from intensive predator control areas reveals that this strategy doesn’t work – all it does is amass major body counts of bears and wolves.

In February, bowing to the wishes of Young and some state-based political appointees in Alaska, just more than 218 lawmakers (the number needed to pass a measure in the U.S. House) voted to overturn a federal rule – years in the works, and crafted by professional wildlife managers at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They sanctioned some of most appalling practices ever imagined in the contemporary era of wildlife management: denning of wolf pups, killing hibernating bears, baiting grizzly bears, and trapping grizzly and black bears with steel-jawed leghold traps and snares.

The nearly identical NPS rule is a second, unwarranted assault. Hunting grizzly bears over bait, killing wolves in their dens, and other similarly unsporting practices have no place anywhere on North American lands – least of all on National Park Service lands.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

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  1. Tess says:

    A century ago, Aldo Leopold, the father of Ecology, eye-witnessed the science for wolves long before it became science in his seminal, “Thinking Like a Mountain.” He cautions mankind, we must think like a mountain; we must think like planet Earth. What is Earth’s opinion of “her” wolves?

    “Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anaemic desuetude and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddle horn. Such a mountain looks as if someone had given God a new pruning shears and forbidden Him all other exercise. In the end, the starved bones of the hoped for deer herd, dead of its own too-much, bleach with the bones of the dead sage or molder under the high-lined junipers…

    Perhaps this is behind Thoreau’s dictum: In wildness is the salvation of the world. Perhaps this is the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf, long known among mountains but seldom perceived by men.”

    • P says:

      Couldn’t have said it better or with so much elegance and restraint. It’s so true. So terribly sad. What else can we do now? Esp about the other bill re denned bears being signed into law? Can we sue? Go to Supreme Court? I am at a heartbroken loss.

  2. Lili Castillo says:

    It’s insane. It’s terrible.

    • Sharon Feldberg says:

      I believe that someday if humans survive climate change these anti nature actions will be perceived similarly to how we feel about the inquisition and witch burning. Great grandchildren may ask what one was doing during the animal holocaust

  3. Sandra Lee the Sherman says:

    Alaska Congressman Don Young, and all those that sided with him on the disgusting killing and trophy hunting of Alaska’s majestic wildlife, should be publicly humiliated for even suggesting such an horrific act. You belong in the same category as the heartless people who torture and abuse pets and farm animals. Cruelty to any animals should be punished, no matter who commits it, or who decides to make it “legal”.

    • Sharon Feldberg says:

      Unfortunately the majority of the public could care less as long as THEIR needs are met. The state of animals in the world can be depressing to those of us who care. I found CEVA videos helpful

  4. ernie meyer says:

    what is wrong with those 218 lawmakers? Where is their moral compass? Where is their compassion?

  5. mary says:

    These killer republicans have NO shame and for some very sicko reason they want to kill every animal in sight!! We have to stop them!!! Write your Reps and Senators over and over until they are sick of you!! Now they want to slaughter all our beautiful Wild horses!! Of course it is for greed! Greed for cattle ranchers who have taken most of their land and miners and frackers!!! It has gotten ridiculous since Trump was elected. That is the bottom line!!! WRITE< WRITE< WRITE That is all I can tell you!!!

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