Apparently, the “grand pivot” to conservation Ryan Zinke promised hasn’t taken place yet or doesn’t apply to Alaska. NBC reported today that Zinke’s National Park Service is going to roll back regulations that prohibited baiting bears with bacon and doughnuts, shooting caribou from motorized boats, and killing bears and their young while they hibernate.
As Theresa Pierno, president of the National Parks Conservation Association told the Guardian, the decision is indefensibly cruel:
Conservation groups have reacted in horror, however. “If the administration has its way, it will be perfectly legal for sport hunters to lure bears with greased doughnut bait piles to kill them. Or to crawl into bear dens to kill hibernating females and their cubs. This activity is cruel and has no place on America’s national park lands.”
Nothing really says a person is a sportsman quite like shooting a hibernating animal or baiting an animal with bacon. The latest decision to roll back and Obama-era regulation is little more than an effort to appease a loud constituency that also successfully lobbied Zinke to permit some important of elephant trophies into the United States.
This line from the Guardian piece does an excellent job of demonstrating the kind of outdoorsman Secretary Zinke is:
Zinke has worked to cultivate an image of a rugged outdoorsman – despite occasional confusion over how to fish correctly – and has developed a penchant for first class travel and ceremonies akin to a monarch, such as raising a personal flag over his department’s headquarters whenever he is in the building.
Secretary Zinke can talk all he wants about conservation, but the evidence is clear: he’s got no interest in making sure that the greatest natural treasures of our country are protected in any way, even if that means reinstating cruel, unsportsmanlike, brutal assaults on the natural world.