This week, the National Park Service (NPS) finalized its rule to allow extreme killing methods of wildlife across 22 million acres of NPS National Preserves land in Alaska. The new rule—which goes into effect in July and reverses protections established in 2015 during the Obama administration—allows for trophy hunters to kill hibernating bears and cubs in their dens with the assistance of artificial lights; shoot coyotes and wolves and their pups in their dens; bait black and brown bears with meat scraps and doughnuts and hunt them with dogs; and shoot caribou as they are swimming with the aid of motorboats.
“This is yet another dastardly move from an administration that, from the start, has carried out a no-holds-barred assault on America’s—and the world’s—most precious wildlife,” Kitty Block, president and CEO of Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), said. “From weakening protections for native American wildlife covered by the Endangered Species Act to allowing trophy hunters to import the trophies of endangered animals like rhinos and lions, the Department of the Interior, under Trump, has consistently played into the hands of trophy hunters and other corporate interests to dismantle the progress we’ve made for wildlife over decades.”
To further dismantle wildlife protections, this week the Department of the Interior proposed another rule to allow the baiting of brown bears on two million acres of public lands in Alaska’s Kenai National Wildlife Refuge—again aiming to overturn protections that were established during the Obama administration.
HSUS, along with a coalition of wildlife organizations, has been fighting to defend the NPS and Kenai rules set in place during the Obama administration in federal court since 2017. “These changes are unlawful because Congress requires that the Department of the Interior conserve and protect wildlife in national preserves and national wildlife refuges,” Block said. “By opening season on the animals it’s supposed to protect just to appease a few trophy hunters, the agency—and this administration—have not only shown themselves to be extremely poor stewards of our public lands, they have let down a majority of Americans who would never sanction such cruelty against our native wildlife.”
Earlier this month, Trump allowed commercial fishing to resume in a sensitive marine ecosystem at the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument—the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean established in 2016 by President Barack Obama to protect approximately 4,913 square miles of water and submerged lands along the New England coast.