The U.S. House of Representatives recently voted to overturn a ban on predator control in Alaska, which means that hibernating bear cups and wolf pups are now fair game for hunters.
The legislation that banned predator control, titled ”Non-Subsistence Take of Wildlife, and Public Participation and Closure Procedures, on National Wildlife Refuges in Alaska,” went into effect September 2016. It protected 76 million acres, encompassing 16 different Alaskan refuges. On February 17, 2017, the House voted to overturn this law.
The law under review banned the use of snare traps, steel jaw traps, and baiting. Furthermore, it prohibited the use of planes for spotting game, immediate landing, and then gunning down prey. Most importantly, it also banned hunting hibernating bears and cubs, as well as wolves and pups, in their dens. Sadly, these animals may once again face unfair odds if the Senate and the U.S. President agree with the House.
Wildlife management has used predator control for years. However, many people, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, oppose it because of its cruel nature. One train of thought is that predator management creates a “game farm” for big hunters. Others feel it is a necessary evil to protect and grow other species. The chart below can help visualize possible uses for predator control.
Support for Predator Control Ban
Democrats are scrutinizing Republicans who voted to overturn the ban. The majority of Alaskans are opposed to the cruel hunting practices formerly allowed. The results of a February 2016 survey quantified this. Representative Mike Fitzpatrick made this comment in favor of the ban:
“Inhumane hunting methods have caused the overkilling of native Alaskan predators; this rule takes a balanced approach allowing for traditional, permit-based hunting.”
Alaska state director for The Humane Society of the US, Michael Haukedalen, stated:
“So many Alaskans are thrilled to know that there will be enhanced protection on national wildlife refuges. Alaska’s economy depends on the lure of grizzly bears, wolves and other megafauna, and this rule will go a long way toward keeping the living capital in place.”
Support for Overturning the Predator Control Ban
Some republicans are citing their favor for overturning the ban as driven by support for pro-individual state rights. This argument makes little sense since the ban applies to federal property.
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas of Massachusetts specifically stated:
“Congress never intended to cede complete wildlife management authority to the states.”
The senate still needs to vote on the overturn of the ban. PLEASE reach out to your senators. After the years of work it took to implement this ban, it would be a tragedy if it took less than one year to overturn it.
Awareness Junkie created and published this article (Predator Control Ban in Alaska Overturned by Congress) under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Sabrina Mueller and AwarenessJunkie.com. You may re-post freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this copyright statement.