Trump Admin. Expands Hunting At Nearly 150 Wildlife Refuges, Fish Hatcheries
On Tuesday, the Trump administration “opened up or expanded hunting and fishing at nearly 150 national wildlife refuges and fish hatcheries, expanding hunters' ability to kill big game, migratory birds and other animals,” The Hill reported.
- The 147 sites touch nearly every state, according to the report, and include portions of the Everglades in Florida, the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Texas and the Flint Hills National Wildlife Refuge in Kansas.
- White House officials billed the move as opening up greater access for sportsmen, with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt saying in a statement:
“The Trump Administration has now made an additional 2.3 million acres accessible to new hunting and fishing opportunities. We continue to take significant actions to further conservation initiatives and support sportsmen and women who are America’s true conservationists.”
- However, The Hill reported that “environmentalists expressed concerns that the weakened protections could harm ecosystems and jeopardize protected species by allowing hunters to go after more predators.”
“Mountain lions, bears and other top predators are so important to ecosystems,” Collette Adkins, the Center for Biological Diversity’s carnivore conservation director, said in a statement. “These beautiful and important animals will be in the crosshairs in many American national refuges.”
- The report noted that “A total of 430 sites in the National Wildlife Refuge System will be open to hunting and 360 will be open to fishing following the move, with 21 national fish hatcheries also open for hunting and sport fishing.”
- Adkins added: “This rule favors trophy hunters at the expense of the rest of us who love and appreciate bears, bobcats and other animals. It’s outrageous, and we’re going to do everything we can to stop it.”