Caribou in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, where caribou hunting is allowed.
US Fish and Wildlife Service / Getty Images
President Obama intends to nominate Sam D. Hamilton, "an avid hunter," as Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The USFWS is a Bureau of the Department of the Interior, which is headed by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who is also a hunter.
Why does it matter? The USFWS controls our National Wildlife Refuge System, which one would think would be, well, a refuge for wildlife. Sadly, no. Hunting is listed as one of the System's six wildlife-dependent recreational uses, and the USFWS states on their website, "Hunters get a warm welcome at more than 300 hunting programs on refuges and on about 36,000 Waterfowl Production Areas." State wildlife mangement agencies sell the hunting permits and also have a say.
How do the hunters feel about it? The US Sportsmen's Alliance is pleased, and cites their past working relationship with Hamilton, who has been the Southeast Regional Director of the USFWS since 1997. It scares me to think what they've been working on.
I'm sure that putting hunters in charge of our National Wildlife Refuges is nothing new. The founder of the first National Wildlife Refuge was President Teddy Roosevelt, an avid hunter himself. But then why are so many people surprised to learn that hunting is allowed in these refuges?
Perhaps they should change the name to "National Wildlife Hunting Grounds" so that more people will be aware of what really goes on.Add to Technorati Favorites
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