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The ban now allows the hunting of bears and wolves on wildlife refuges.
Environment | Wildlife

Trump lifts ban on hunting hibernating bears

Daksha Rangan
Digital Reporter

Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 2:11 PM - The state of Alaska is home to 16 U.S. national wildlife refuges and a vast variety of iconic animals — two of which are now fair game for hunters.

A joint bill from the U.S. House and Senate, signed off by President Donald Trump on Monday, revokes an Obama-era rule that bans "predator control" hunting on Alaska's refuges.

The ban protected hibernating bears from being hunted, along with wolf cubs in dens. It also protected these animals from being targeted from helicopters.

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The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spent years declining state officials' attempts to extend predator-killing practices into federal wildlife refuges. To cap the requests, the government agency put forth a rule in late 2016 protecting wildlife on all Alaskan refuges from predator control.

The ban was a part of former U.S. president Barack Obama's climate change legacy, and just one in a line-up of environmental protection laws that are on the chopping block under the incumbent.

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Alaska's sole congressperson, Republican Donald Young, said the state was promised the authority to manage game animals under the old ban, and refuge officials ignored the law.

"Some of you will say, 'Oh, we have to protect the wolf puppies,"' Young was quoted telling his colleagues. "That's not what it's about. It's about the law."

Alaska's wildlife refuges span almost 311,000 square kilometres of land.

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