Energy & Environment

Trump administration sued over relaxed restrictions on killing wolf pups, bear cubs

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A coalition of 13 groups sued the Interior Department and National Park Service (NPS) on Wednesday over its decision to ease restrictions on hunting bear cubs and wolf pups at national preserves in Alaska. 

A rule published in June reversed a 2015 ban on certain hunting practices including hunting black bear cubs, using artificial light at den sites and hunting wolves and coyotes, including pups, during denning season.

On Wednesday, the groups, which include environmental and animal rights organizations, criticized the rule as cruel and argued that it’s bad for the ecosystem. 

“The National Park Service is now overtly sanctioning the killing of defenseless bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens; the exact opposite of what most believe is ‘fair chase,’ ” Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO for Defenders of Wildlife, said in a statement. 

“This controversial practice is extreme and wholly inconsistent with the Park Service’s mission to conserve wildlife and wild places. We are suing to protect Alaska’s irreplaceable wildlife and hold the National Park Service accountable to their conservation mission,” she said. 

Their lawsuit targets the technical legal bases behind the administration’s decisionmaking.

An NPS spokesperson defended its rule in a statement to The Hill. 
“The final rule affirms the state of Alaska’s role in wildlife management on Alaska national preserves, consistent with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and Department of the Interior (DOI) policies guiding the federal-state relationship in the management of fish and wildlife,” the spokesperson said.

The June rule is just one of a series of actions by the Trump administration taken to increase hunting access.

This month, the administration opened up or expanded hunting and fishing at nearly 150 national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries, expanding hunters’ ability to kill big game, migratory birds and other animals.

Updated 4:34 p.m.

Tags Alaska bear cubs Black bears Coyote Department of the Interior Donald Trump Hunting Mammals National Park Service wildlife preserves wolf pups
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