In a massive victory for wildlife in Alaska, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife announced last week that it was withdrawing its 2020 proposed rule that would have allowed trophy hunters on the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge to lure brown bears to their deaths with rotting piles of pastries and donuts.
Today, in their blog, Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, and Sara Amundson, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, said: “Habituating brown bears to smelly bait piles, which creates unacceptable public safety risks, and allowing target and non-target animals alike to suffer and die slow and painful deaths in traps, are not only inhumane and unsporting, but are entirely contrary to good science and the purpose of a refuge. Federal public lands belong to all citizens, but the rule clearly catered to a small subset of trophy hunters and trappers. This was a misguided effort to use predator control schemes to suppress vulnerable carnivore populations all to artificially boost the number of ungulates (like caribou and moose) available to hunt.”
Even as we celebrate this victory, we look toward other fights to better protect Alaska’s wildlife. The National Park Service is currently considering another proposed rule that would be a win for wild animals on its Alaska preserves. Block and Amundson explain in their blog today: “If adopted, this rule would prohibit cruel practices including killing hibernating mother black bears and their cubs in their dens
with the aid of artificial lights, shooting wolf and coyote pups and mothers at their dens, shooting vulnerable caribou while they are swimming, using dogs to hunt black bears and using bait like dog food, pancake syrup, pastries and bacon grease to attract and subsequently kill brown and black bears. It wasn’t long ago that these practices were banned, but in an unfortunate decision the Trump administration overturned the ban.”
The Humane Society of the United States has already generated more than 115,000 comments supporting this rule, and comments on this proposed rule are due March 27, 2023.