The Trump administration is systematically rolling back protections for endangered wildlife and expanding rights for hunters, winning cheers from sporting associations but worrying environmentalists who fear it will lead to the extinction of protected species.
The National Park Service announced last week it would end an Obama-era protection that prohibited the hunting of bear cubs, as well as wolves and pups in their dens, in Alaska’s national preserves.
Under the proposal, which is not yet final, Alaska could decide whether to allow these hunting practices, in addition to the targeting of animals from boats and the use of bait to lure in animals for hunting.
Animals rights groups call the hunting practices barbaric, while the administration championed the decision as a win for state’s rights.
That same day, the Interior Department also announced it was expanding hunting access at 30 national wildlife refuges across the country.
The rule would open or expand 248,000 acres to hunting and allow for the first time a number of new activities on the public land, including big game hunting.
Groups worried about the proposals see them as an attack on protections for animals that have broad public support and view the administration as doing the bidding of hunting groups.
“It really feels like this assault on the animals and wildlife,” said Kitty Block, the Humane Society’s acting president. “It’s not a slow drip, drip, it’s a full-on fire hose of decisions coming out that are really scary.”