Energy & Environment

Trump to make it easier for Alaska hunters to kill wolf pups and bear cubs: report

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The Trump administration reportedly plans to end an Obama-era rule banning the use of controversial hunting methods in Alaska’s national parks.

According to a Monday report by The Washington Post, the rule change is set to be published in the Federal Register on Tuesday and would go into effect 30 days later. The rule would end a five-year ban on baiting hibernating bears from dens with doughnuts and on using artificial light in wolf dens during efforts to kill mothers and pups.

The change would also end bans on shooting swimming caribou from boats and hunting animals from airplanes and snowmobiles.

The rule change was initially proposed in 2018 under former Interior Department Secretary Ryan Zinke, but was put on hold.

Opponents of the ban argued it violated Native American hunting rights in the state. Other Alaska leaders in favor of the change say it will help control the population of wolves and bears and increase the numbers of their prey, such as caribou and moose, which hunters prefer killing for sport.

Conservationists strongly oppose the change.

“Shooting hibernating mama and baby bears is not the conservation legacy that our national parks are meant to preserve and no way to treat or manage park wildlife,” Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association, told the Post.

Jamie Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife, has previously called the hunting tactics, “barbaric and inhumane.”

The tactics, however, are already allowed in other parts of Alaska. Champions of the rule change say it will help align state and federal law in the state.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) has praised the decision as upholding “long-standing states’ rights,” and she thanked Interior Secretary David Bernhardt for his work to change the rule.

Last year, the Environmental Protection Agency faced backlash for authorizing the use of cyanide bombs to kill wild animals that threaten livestock, and President Trump also announced a widespread expansion of hunting on federal lands.

The plan revealed last year would increase hunting and fishing access across 1.4 million acres of public land in 74 national wildlife refuges and 15 national fish hatcheries. The administration argued hunting is a billion-dollar revenue source for the government. 

Tags Alaska bear cubs David Bernhardt Donald Trump Hunting Lisa Murkowski Ryan Zinke Trump administration wolf pups

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