The Trump administration on Tuesday overturned an Obam-era rule that banned hunters in Alaska national preserves from putting bear traps, killing bear cubs and wolf pups in their hiding places, and other practices that have been condemned by environmental and wildlife protection groups.
“The Trump administration has shockingly reached a new low in its treatment of wildlife. Allowing the killing of bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens is barbaric and inhumane. The proposed regulations cast aside a primary purpose of national preserves to conserve wildlife and wild places,” Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of Defenders of Wildlife, said in a written statement.
Under the new National Park Service rule, effective July 9, hunting on natural preserves in Alaska will be controlled by the state. The state allows baiting of brown and black bears, hunting of denning black bears with artificial light, killing of denning wolves and coyotes, hunting of swimming caribou and hunting of caribou from motorboats.
The Obama administration had banned all those practices in National Parks.
The change comes from 2017 orders issued by then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to provide greater recreational access for hunting and fishing in Alaska, National Park Service spokesman Peter Christian said, acknowledging that the rule-change was unpopular.
“I would say the vast majority of people did believe this was a controversial move and were almost entirely opposed to us lifting the ban,” Christian said. Another pending Trump administration rule, expected to be released on Wednesday, would overturn similar restrictions in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.