Federal officials urged to end state funding for wildlife management in response to extreme wolf destruction programs
WASHINGTON – State gaming agencies could lose a substantial portion of their budgets to eradicate their wolf populations under a proposal presented by the Global Indigenous Council, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the Center for Biological Diversity and a coalition of 25 Native Americans, conservation and animal welfare organizations. The plan would deny federal wildlife management funding to states that overly target predators, such as wolves, cougars and grizzly bears.
With the removal of federal protections from the Endangered Species Act for gray wolves, states across the country have expanded controversial predator control programs by allowing trophy hunting and predator hunting and trapping, in particularly wolves, without taking into account the maintenance of sustainable population levels.
The coalition’s rule-making petition would ask Home Secretary Deb Haaland to pass regulations making states ineligible to receive grants under the Pittman-Robertson Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act if they allow hunting and trapping to levels that compromise healthy populations of wildlife, including predators. This condition is currently required under Pittman-Robertson, but these requirements have not been enforced.
Following public comment, Haaland would decide whether a state seeking a federal grant pursues wildlife management practices inconsistent with the national goal of naturally diverse wildlife populations and healthy predator-prey dynamics.
This year, Pittman-Robertson poured roughly $ 1 billion into the coffers of video game companies. This federal aid constitutes a significant portion of the budgets of state gaming agencies across the country.
“These wolf extermination bills adopted and enacted by right-wing extremists at the state level demonstrate that they are not only driving democracy to extinction, they are also confusing Euro-medieval sadism. with the so-called management of wildlife for the same purposes as wolves, ”said Rain, director and executive director of the Global Indigenous Council.
The petition targets recent actions in states such as Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wisconsin to, in essence, declare the season open to wolves. In addition, the petition targets practices such as bear baiting and trapping, the “Judas” wolf collar, the use of dogs to hunt predators, the shooting of bears, wolves and their young. in dens, aerial spotting for earth and shooting removals, and night hunting with artificial lights.
“A healthy predator-prey relationship is necessary for healthy wildlife populations as a whole,” said Rick Steiner, PEER board member, conservation expert and retired University of Alaska professor, noting that on a wide variety of issues, eligibility for federal funding is used as a means of inducing states to comply with federal policies. “No state, including Alaska, should be given millions of dollars in federal wildlife restoration assistance each year, as it continues its ecological destruction efforts to dramatically reduce or eliminate populations of wolves, bears, coyotes and pumas. ”
“Federal authorities must stop ignoring the use of conservation funding by anti-wolf states to slaughter ecologically important carnivores,” said Collette Adkins, director of the carnivore conservation program at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Federal funds for wildlife management should only go to states that can be trusted to conserve their wildlife for all Americans.”
Along with the Global Indigenous Council, PEER and the Center, the groups sponsoring the petition are the Humane Society of the US, The Native Conservancy, The 06 Legacy, Alaskans for Wildlife, Attorneys for Animals, Footloose Montana, Friends of the Clearwater, Global Conseil international, United Tribes, Mountain Lion Foundation, National Wolfwatcher Coalition, Oasis Earth, Predator Defense, Project Coyote, Project Eleven Hundred, Protect Our Wildlife, Sierra Club-Toiyabe Chapter, Southwest Environmental Center, The Endangered Species Coalition, The International Wildlife Coexistence Network, The Rewilding Institute, Washington Wildlife First, Western Wildlife Outreach, Wildearth Guardians, Western Watersheds Project, Wyoming Wildlife Advocates, and Professor Adrian Treves of the University of Wisconsin.