Since taking office last year, U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has orchestrated several highly controversial attacks on our nation’s wildlife and protected natural areas. Take, for instance, his decision to drastically reduce the size of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments by opening up much of the ecologically, historically and culturally important landscapes to oil and gas drilling. Not to mention he was directly involved in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s infuriating choice to revoke endangered species protection for grizzly bears in Yellowstone, a population which is still in decline and in dire need of defense.
Now, as we’re sad to report, Zinke has launched yet another assault on the United States’ preserved lands and the animal inhabitants that call them home. Last week, he moved to open up 30 wildlife refuges to new or expanded hunting or fishing, resulting in a total of over 251,000 acres of federal land losing protection against these wildlife-threatening, habitat-destroying activities.
While Secretary Zinke and the rest of the Trump administration are claiming that this action will “enhance” rather than hurt conservation on the refuges, we beg to differ. In addition to legalizing the senseless killing of innocent animals for sport, loosening regulations on hunting and fishing in these previously protected areas will surely disturb the fragile ecosystems which exist in these waters and on these lands. In other words, while the move may be a win for trophy hunters, it’s most definitely a huge loss from a conservation standpoint no matter how you look at it.
Fortunately, there’s nothing stopping us from expressing that we vehemently oppose Secretary Zinke’s latest ecologically irresponsible move (along with all the other ones). If you agree that wildlife refuges should be places where animals are safeguarded at all costs, not slaughtered by public citizens, please join the Natural Resources Defense Council in taking a stand by clicking here and telling Secretary Zinke that you disapprove of his attacks on our public lands. Together, we can make our voices heard and urge our federal government to stop dismantling protections for our nation’s precious wildlife and their habitats!