SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The Obama administration in 2015 put in place regulations banning hunters in Alaska from using certain practices to kill animals such as bears, their cubs, wolves, and coyotes.
Last week, the Trump administration eased the restrictions protecting wildlife in Alaska.
Nicole Whittington-Evans, the Alaska program director for Defenders of Wildlife explained what the reversal means:
"It deals with preserve lands and allows the baiting, trapping and snaring of bears and killing bears and cubs and wolves and pups in their dens."
Under the new rules, baiting of brown and black bears with human food, hunting of bears in their dens using artificial light, killing of wolves and coyotes in their dens during the season when mothers wean their young, using dogs to hunt bears and hunting of swimming caribou from boats will all be allowed.
Why does this only apply to Alaska?
The reversal gives states authority over nature preserves instead of the federal government, and Alaska allows these types of practices.
“Just extreme practices that have no place in our parks or refuges," Whittington-Evans.
Defenders of Wildlife is among several organizations criticizing the move.
National Humane Society officials wrote a blog on the topic saying in part:
“This is yet another dastardly move from an administration that, from the start, has carried out a no-holds-barred assault on America's—and the world's—most precious wildlife.”
Locally, Gary Weitzman, president of San Diego's Humane Society told News 8, he's just as upset.
"Absolutely horrible that this is happening. It's really clear this President doesn't care," he said.
Meanwhile, supporters of the move argue it increases access to hunters, especially in Alaska where many depend on wild food resources.
"The purpose of the states mandates are to increase prey numbers and therefore reduce predator numbers," Whittington-Evans.
The new rules go into effect July 9, though legal action is underway in an effort to block them from moving forward.
"There's multiple lawsuits so hopefully it won't even happen," said Weitzman.