The Trump administration is rolling back an Obama-era regulation that prohibits hunters from shooting animals in their dens. The 2015 order protected bears, wolves, coyotes, and their cubs and pups from hunters in some Alaskan national preserves, as well as in Kenai National Wildlife Refuge.
Conservationists are alarmed by the new rule which they deem cruel. Jesse Prentice-Dunn, policy director for the Center for Western Priorities, told The Guardian that the rule change was “just the latest in a string of efforts to reduce protections for America’s wildlife at the behest of oil companies and trophy hunters.”
The trapping and hunting laws in the new regulations are otherwise permitted by Alaska state and federal law. The 2015 regulation was believed to be in conflict with state laws.
Alaska’s leaders praised the change that they believe restores sovereignty to the state and will expand recreational opportunities.
The Anchorage Daily listed the scope of the new rules, explaining that it will allow hunters to take “Black bears, including cubs and sows with cubs, with artificial light at den sites; Black and brown bears over bait; Wolves and coyotes, including pups, during the denning season; Swimming caribou; Caribou from traveling motorboats.”
The Tanana Chiefs Conference, a local tribal consortium, also agreed with the ruling, saying the Obama regulation was implemented without sufficient tribal consultation. They cited Alaska’s dependence on wild food resources as a reason for rolling back the policy.