Wildlife refuges

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, January/February 1996:

The comptroller’s office of Colombia reported
November 7 that guerrilla bands are operating out of 20 of
the nation’s 42 national parks and nature reserves; drug
traffickers are based in 15 more; and six of the remaining
seven are full of bandits. But U.S. wildlife refuges are
scarcely less embattled, at least in the political sense.
Among the more noteworthy Congressional efforts to dismantle
the refuge system are HR 1675, an attempt by Rep.
Don Young (R-Alaska) to authorize the Secretary of the
Interior to close refuges, obstruct the creation of new ones,
and open all existing refuges up to hunting and trapping by
defining hunting as a purpose of the refuge system. Young
is also boosting legislation to allow commercial alligator
farms to collect gator eggs from wildlife refuges, on condition
that they return a certain number of captive-reared alligators
to the habitat. Louisiana has had a similar program
in effect for over a decade, requiring the return of 17% of
the hatched alligators over four feet long––but wildlife biologists
say the captive-reared alligators don’t survive well,
tending to challenge cars, in particular, instead of hurrying
away. Working on a smaller scale, Rep. Frank Lucas (ROkla.)
is merely promoting a bill to sell off 13,000 acres of
wildlife habitat in northwestern Oklahoma, coveted by
hunters and developers, and use the proceeds to set up a
325-acre Washita Battlefield National Historic Site.
Sending a message to the would-be refuge-rapists, especially
Young, President Bill Clinton has thus far kept his word
to veto any and all budget bills that include provisions to
open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

Endangered Species Act
Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) in February or March is
expected to introduce an Endangered Species Act reauthorization
bill authored according to specifications from
House speaker Newt Gingrich. Gingrich is currently saying
ESA reauthorization won’t move to the House floor earlier
than April. Senator Harry Reid (D-Nevada) is also
rumored to be planning to release an Endangered Species
Act reauthorization bill in spring, possible an adaptation of
the anti-“takings” bill introduced last fall by Dirk
Kempthrone (R-Idaho). Pending the resumption of the actual
ESA debate, most recent ESA-related activity in
Congress has focused on riders and amendments to freeze
the designation of new endangered species, and/or prevent
spending on specific species protection projects.

Print Friendly

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.