US President Donald Trump and his administration are looking to reverse hunting regulations designed to protect wild Alaskan animals from barbaric hunting practices. It follows other bans Trump has lifted in favour of hunters.
It defies humanity, logic and any form of comprehension that in this day and age, recreational hunting gets the sign-off - especially when the practices used are cruel.
Having implemented regulations to eliminate barbaric hunting practices in Alaska in 2015, the work carried out by the Obama administration looks set to be overturned by the current POTUS.
It appears a number of pro-hunting heavyweights have been appointed within the Department of Interior, of which the National Park Service (NPS) is a part and who helped to implement the regulations three years ago. At the time, the NPS said the rules were necessary to curb barbaric hunting practices and to avoid destabilising the Alaskan ecosystem.
However, pressure from the Department of Interior and various individuals has led to a proposal reversing those changes.
Practices banned in 2015
Practices banned by the Obama administration in 2015 that now look set to be reinstated include:
- Killing hibernating black bears, including cubs and sows with cubs
- Using artificial light to shoot and kill black bears in their dens
- Using dogs to hunt black bears
- Luring brown bears with bait (including bacon and doughnuts)
- Killing wolves and coyotes, including pups, during the denning season
- Shooting swimming caribou
- Using motorboats to shoot caribou
- Taking black bears over bait
Trump on the hunt
In March this year, US government agency and the Interior Department’s Fish and Wildlife Service also abandoned Obama administration regulation that prevented the importation of 'hunting trophies' for hunters returning from Africa to the US. As such, it is now possible to import elephant, lion, bontebok (antelope), and other animal 'trophies' from various African nations, reviewed on a case by case basis.
This is despite President Trump late last year Tweeting that he had put the Fish and Wildlife Service's lifting of the ban "on hold until such time as I review all conservation facts."
He also tweeted that he would be "very hard pressed to change my mind that this horror show in any way helps conservation of Elephants or any other animal."
Ensuring smooth path to lifting of ban
Meanwhile, a Court of Appeals found that the Obama administration acted improperly when implementing the earlier ban, therefore providing a win for the Fish and Wildlife Service.
Referring to the decision to review imports on a case by case basis, Tanya Sanerib of the Center for Biological Diversity said, "The Trump administration is trying to keep these crucial trophy import decisions behind closed doors, and that's totally unacceptable."
"Elephants aren't meant to be trophies; they're meant to roam free."
Who really calls the shots?
Many conservationists have said that it is incredulous for the President, who showed unusual sympathy for the welfare of elephants and other animals urgently requiring conservation, to be unable to enforce the ban altogether. Although they acknowledge there are likely ulterior motives behind the interference.
While Trump has previously said he is "not a believer in hunting", his two sons, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump, have been happy to boast of their hunting escapades in more recent times. Just last year, Trump Jr. caused major upset when, after a safari hunt, published photographs showed him holding an elephant tail in one hand and a knife in the other.
Conversationists are clearly distressed by these recent decisions and are lobbying hard while the Alaskan decision is open to public comment until mid July.
Image for illustration purposes.