In­te­rior depart­ment re­views ban on killing bear cubs and wolf pups

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Dar­ryl Fears

WASH­ING­TON» The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion has or­dered a re­view of fed­eral rules that pre­vent hunters from killing bears and wolves us­ing tech­niques many peo­ple con­sider ex­treme: bait­ing the an­i­mals with greasy dough­nuts, am­bush­ing moth­ers with pups in dens and shoot­ing them from boats while the bears are swim­ming.

An In­te­rior Depart­ment of­fi­cial sent memos to the Na­tional Park Ser­vice and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice last week re­quest­ing that they re­assess rules on “var­i­ous pro­hi­bi­tions that di­rectly con­tra­dict State of Alaska au­tho­riza­tions and wildlife man­age­ment de­ci­sions.” Alaska se­verely man­ages preda­tors to in­crease moose and cari­bou pop­u­la­tions for the ben­e­fit of hunters. Bears, wolves and coy­otes prey on those an­i­mals for food.

“I an­tic­i­pate that you will fo­cus this re­con­sid­er­a­tion on cer­tain as­pects of the rule that I be­lieve are par­tic­u­larly wor­thy of ad­di­tional re­view,” act­ing as­sis­tant secretary Aure­lia Skip­with wrote in the memos. Skip­with told the act­ing di­rec­tors of both agen­cies to work with Alaskans to make a new fi­nal rule for the na­tional parks there and for the Ke­nai Na­tional Wildlife Refuge.

The ac­tion is sep­a­rate from a March vote along party lines in Congress to re­scind the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion’s or­der late last year, which out­lawed the pri­or­i­tiz­ing of prey over preda­tors at 16 fed­eral wildlife refuges in Alaska. Un­der the 1994 Con­gres­sional Re­view Act, Congress has 60 days to over­turn a pres­i­den­tial or­der. But rules pro­hibit­ing wildlife man­age­ment that specif­i­cally tar­gets preda­tors had been adopted by the Na­tional Park Ser­vice in Alaska and the Ke­nai refuge years ago.

For decades, the Alaska Depart­ment of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Ser­vice ne­go­ti­ated an­nu­ally on hunt­ing and fish­ing rules on the tens of mil­lions of acres that com­prise wildlife refuges and na­tional parks.

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