Released by Jennifer Witherspoon, defenders.org
The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) posted a final rule today prohibiting Alaska from applying its “predator control” program to National Wildlife Refuge System lands in the state.
Alaska’s controversial program authorizes the culling of native carnivores through aerial gunning, baiting, trapping, and killing mother bears and cubs and wolves and pups in their dens to inflate deer, moose and caribou populations. These extreme practices are legal under Alaska state law, but directly conflict with FWS’s conservation mission on national wildlife refuges.
FWS’s new rule ensures that national wildlife refuges in Alaska are managed in accordance with fundamental federal laws to conserve species at their natural level of diversity, not to artificially increase game populations. It allows FWS to fulfill its responsibility to maintain the biological integrity of the National Wildlife Refuge System.
Statement from Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO, Jamie Rappaport Clark:
“This rule is necessary to help protect some of the most iconic yet persecuted species in North America. It will ensure the conservation of wolves, bears and other carnivores on our national wildlife refuges in Alaska.
“Alaska’s predator control measures fly in the face of science-based wildlife management, throwing ecosystems out of balance and impacting wildlife sustainability throughout the region. Federally protected areas like national wildlife refuges are essential to ensure the ecological vitality of our remaining wildlands, and should not be compromised to accommodate misguided state policies.
“The US Fish and Wildlife Service has put vital protections in place for America’s natural heritage with this regulation. Now we must also ensure that Congress does not pass the riders on the Interior appropriations bill and the energy package that could block this crucial new rule.”
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1.1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow the group on Twitter @DefendersNews.