Category Archives: Uncategorized

Fact Sheet: Protect Alaska’s Wildlife in National Preserves

One of the most important rule changes for Alaska’s wildlife is up for public comment, and we need your help. 

View our Fact Sheet, complete with information on the rule change, how to comment, and facts to add to your comment here: 

2018 Proposed Rule Change on Hunting and Trapping in National Preserves Fact Sheet

Alaska Wildlife Alliance believes that the PROPOSED RULE to “apply the State of Alaska’s hunting regulations to national preserve lands” in Alaska by removing the 2015 wildlife protections MUST BE REJECTED because:

  1. it is inconsistent with Federal laws or regulations. 
  2. it is scientifically unjustified, procedurally flawed, and arbitrary and capricious.
  3. it violates the basic principles of wildlife conservation. 
  4. it is not in the best interest of all Americans.
    Click here to learn more

In an interview about the proposed rule change, Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), co-chair of the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, said:

“The Trump administration’s decision to roll back these sensible animal protections is outrageous. Without this ban, the hunting of bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens and the shooting of bears from airplanes will return,” he said. “Without wildlife, our national preserves are just scenery. These practices have no place on our public lands and in our society.”

The chair of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks said the proposed rule “sounds nothing like the Park Service I know.” Phil Francis, who’s also a retired park service employee with more than four decades of experience, said the agency is mandated to conserve wildlife under the law that established it, not exploit it through these despicable hunting practices. You don’t have to be an avid hunter to know that killing bears with cubs in their dens or shooting swimming caribou from a moving motorboat are simply wrong.”

The National Parks Conservation Association called the proposal “a shocking reversal of common-sense wildlife management regulations in Alaska,” and said brown-bear baiting at the Denali National Park and Preserve, Arctic National Park and Preserve and Noatak National Preserve would start immediately once the proposal is approved. “Trapping wolves in dens during the season when they’re sleeping would start at the Katmai National Park and Preserve,” the association said.

The group pointed to the Park Service’s failed attempts to negotiate with the state over hunting methods before proposing and finalizing the current rule. During that period, the Park Service in Alaska argued more than 60 times that the state’s hunting methods were inappropriate on federal land, said Jim Adams, the group’s Alaska director.

“Now, with this rule, the state can engage in an escalating war on wolves, bears and cubs to increase caribou herds for hunting,” Adams said. “It’s hard to imagine the Park Service on the ground being eager to push back on the state. Sport hunting … that’s what this is all about. The state is trying to empower hunters in as many ways as possible to reduce populations of predators.”

“If the administration has its way, it will be perfectly legal for sport hunters to lure bears with greased donut bait piles to kill them,said Theresa Pierno, president and chief executive officer of NPCA. “Or to crawl into bear dens to kill hibernating females and their cubs. This activity is cruel and has no place on Alaska’s national park lands.”

Be a voice for wildlife and comment now!

Alert: Two extraordinarily important bills need your comments this week 3/20/17

URGENT! Please support pending legislation to 1) dedicate seats on the Board of Game for non-consumptive users, and 2) stop wolf hunting and trapping adjacent to Denali National Park

House Bill 134, which would require at least one non-consumptive user and one tourism representative to be seated on the seven-member Board of Game, will come up for its first public hearing in the House Resources Committee this week. HB 105 (Denali wolf buffer area) is scheduled for a continued public hearing at the same time.

The teleconferenced public hearings on both bills are scheduled for:

Monday, March 20 and

Wednesday, March 22

both begin at 1:00 pm.

 

There are several ways to give input on HB 134 and HB 105:

  • At your local Legislative Information Office you may testify via teleconference. Locations are listed here. http://akleg.gov/lios.php LIO staff will help with the process, and you can also submit a written copy of your comments.
  • Call in to the hearing directly: (844) 586-9085. The wait time to speak will depend on how many others are calling in.

 

HB 134, which would mandate two non-consumptive members on the Board of Game, is critical to nearly every wildlife issue we face in Alaska.

We cannot over-emphasize the importance of everyone speaking up in support of this bill! If we do not support it, we cannot complain when the Board of Game continues its “business as usual” managing wildlife for hunters and trappers.

Introduced by Anchorage Rep. Andy Josephson, HB 134 states in part:

“In making board member appointments, the governor is directed to consider a diversity of interests and points of view. Unfortunately, past and present board appointments have favored consumptive interests and failed to include sufficient representation for non-consumptive interests.

Alaska’s wildlife is more than a hunting opportunity for many Alaskans and visitors. Wildlife viewing, photography, and scientific research carry value such that it is worth having non-consumptive interests represented on the Board of Game.”

Read the full bill here. http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Text/30?Hsid=HB0134A

 

HB 105 would close an area on state land adjacent to the northeastern park boundary to hunting and trapping of wolves. (Read the full bill here:

http://www.akleg.gov/basis/Bill/Text/30?Hsid=HB0105A )

This area roughly overlaps the Wolf Townships/Stampede Corridor where we have been fighting for years to get a buffer approved by the Board of Game. (The most recent buffer proposal was unanimously defeated by the BOG in February.)

Note: The hearing times for HB 105 (Denali wolf buffer), are for those who have not previously testified on the bill. If you have already testified, it is not necessary to do so again.

Lawmakers need to hear loud and clear that we enthusiastically support these bills!

As co-chair of the House Resources Committee, Andy is in a position to (hopefully) champion these bills through that committee. If they advance to other committee(s) and the full House, their future is less certain. Nevertheless it is a great accomplishment and true progress that we can get these and other pending wildlife-related bills to public hearings. Please tell Andy that you support his efforts and his pending legislation. He is a dedicated supporter of wildlife and environmental issues – we owe him a huge “thank you”!

Again, it is imperative that we make our voices heard on these bills.

Thank you.

P.S. We apologize for the short notice; these hearings are scheduled by the legislature on short notice.

AWA and other conservation groups join lawsuits on predator control

Press Release from Trustees for Alaska: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – Feb. 8, 2017

Contacts:
Pat Lavin, Alaska Representative, Defenders of Wildlife
plavin@defenders.org, 907-276-9410
Jim Adams, Alaska Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association
jadams@npca.org, 907-538-5898, available after 1:30p Alaska time
Fran Mauer, wildlife biologist, board member, Alaska Chapter of Wilderness Watch
fmauer@mosquitonet.com, 907-455-6829
Michelle Sinnott, Staff Attorney, Trustees for Alaska
msinnott@trustees.org, 907-433-2011

Conservation groups join lawsuits on predator control

Over a dozen conservation groups filed a request in federal court today to defend regulations protecting wildlife in National Preserves and National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska.

The motion filed by Trustees for Alaska on behalf of 15 clients is in response to two separate lawsuits filed by the State of Alaska and the Safari Club last month. The two lawsuits challenge National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regulations prohibiting aggressive sport hunting methods targeting bears and wolves on Preserves and Refuges.

“The State wants to kill wolves and bears to increase moose and caribou, but that’s not the purpose of these lands,” said Fran Mauer, a former wildlife biologist and board member for the Alaska Chapter of Wilderness Watch. “Alaskans and Americans go to these areas for a lot of different reasons, and we experience them in a lot of different ways. Most people want to see wildlife with its natural dynamics and populations intact. It will profoundly diminish our experiences if these lands are manipulated as game farms.”

“Refuge and Preserve lands are managed for biological integrity and diversity,” said Pat Lavin, the Alaska representative for Defenders of Wildlife. “The state’s extreme methods remove predators wholesale from the landscape and have no place on these lands. Alaskans and Americans treasure our phenomenal wildlife and don’t want to see iconic species managed to scarcity.”

The National Park Service and the Fish & Wildlife Service manage wildlife on Preserves and Refuges to protect natural diversity of wildlife. These agencies generally allow the State of Alaska to regulate sport hunting, but they do not allow the State to regulate sport hunting in a way aimed at significantly reducing wolf and bear populations.

The lawsuits filed by the state and Safari Club run counter to Alaska’s economic interests. “Visitors to Alaska come to see wildlife, particularly bears,” said Jim Adams, the Alaska Regional Director of the National Parks Conservation Association. “The 2.6 million park and preserve visitors in 2015 spent an estimated $1.2 billion in local gateway regions and supported 17.6 thousand jobs.”

Trustees for Alaska is a non-profit public interest environmental law firm founded and based in Alaska to defend and protect Alaska lands, waters, wildlife and communities. Trustees filed today’s motion to intervene on behalf of 15 conservation groups:

The Alaska Wildlife Alliance
Alaskans for Wildlife
Friends of Alaska National Wildlife Refuges
Denali Citizens Council
Copper Country Alliance
Kachemak Bay Conservation Society
Defenders of Wildlife
National Parks Conservation Association
National Wildlife Refuge Association
Northern Alaska Environmental Center
The Wilderness Society
Wilderness Watch
Alaska Chapter of the Sierra Club
Center for Biological Diversity
The Humane Society of the United States