URGENT: Help us protect Alaskan wildlife

Wolves like the one pictured here may soon lose protection. Call your representatives now. PHOTO © Danielle Plourde

UPDATE: The U.S. House and Senate both passed H.J. Res. 69, and the President has signed it into law despite fierce opposition from the public and many members of Congress. In the wake of this distressing loss, IFAW—with your help—will continue to fight for wildlife and habitat protections in Congress.

Among the onslaught of anti-environmental bills introduced in the new Congress is one that could have been written by a slasher film superfan: The proposal would reverse an important rule that protects wildlife from cruel trapping and hunting practices in Alaska’s national wildlife refuges.

The US Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) issued the refuge rule last year, with IFAW’s support, to protect native wildlife like grizzly bears, gray wolves and other iconic species. The rule did not outlaw hunting, but it did make certain inhumane and ecologically indefensible hunting practices illegal. If the new legislation is enacted and the rule is overturned, these cruel practices could be allowed, making federal “Refuges” anything but. Among them:

  • Killing wolf, bear, and coyote mothers and their pups in their dens;
  • Using steel-jawed leghold traps and wire neck snares to trap and kill grizzlies;
  • Using aircraft to chase and gun down grizzlies; and
  • Baiting and luring bears to areas where hunters are waiting to kill them.

All of these gruesome activities run counter to traditional “fair chase” hunting principles, but backers of the law have worked themselves up over the injustice of federal protections. Safari Club International sent a breathless email alert to its members saying that the current rule “interferes with the State of Alaska’s ability to provide adequate wildlife for the state’s hunters,” as if the Fish & Wildlife Service had pulled the plug on a vending machine.

Animals are not wind-up toys or fairground targets.

We have no right to strangle them with snares, terrorize them with aerial assaults, or kill their pups in cold blood – all the more so on land that should be their safe haven.

The U.S. House of Representatives will likely vote on this resolution today, Thursday the 16th. IFAW urges you to call your member of Congress and your Senator and tell them to vote NO on H.J. Res. 69 (in the House) and S.J. Res. 18 (in the Senate).

Rescinding the Alaska national wildlife refuge rule and turning over wildlife management decisions about federal lands to the State of Alaska would make hunting a priority above all others, despite the fact that the vast majority of visitors to national wildlife refuges are not hunters. It would interfere with the rights of all Americans to enjoy land and wildlife in places that are supposed to be managed for our shared benefit, and for the benefit of the animals themselves. This is an important opportunity to prevent this bill from passing. We need to make sure that this law goes nowhere. Call your representatives NOW.

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Experts

Azzedine Downes,IFAW President and CEO
President and Chief Executive Officer
Beth Allgood, US Country Director
US Country Director
Cynthia Milburn, Director, Animal Welfare Outreach & Education
Senior Advisor, Policy Development
Dr. Joseph Okori
Regional Director, Southern Africa and Program Director, Landscape Conservation
Faye Cuevas, Esq.
Senior Vice President
Grace Ge Gabriel, Regional Director, Asia
Regional Director, Asia
Executive Vice President
Executive Vice President
Patrick Ramage, Program Director, Whales
Program Director, Marine Conservation
Rikkert Reijnen, Program Director, Wildlife Crime
Program Director, Wildlife Crime