U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Emergency Closure of Brown Bear Sport Hunting on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge‏

October 25, 2013

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT:
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (907) 262-7021

SOLDOTNA, AK – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today announces
an emergency closure of sport hunting of brown bears on the Kenai National
Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), effective October 26, 2013 at 12:01 am. The
emergency closure is issued pursuant to federal regulations at 50 CFR 36.42.

Operating under the assumption of lagging indicators, the known
human-caused brown bear mortalities on the Kenai Peninsula in 2013 now
total at least 66 bears. This includes a minimum of 43 brown bears taken
during spring and fall hunting seasons, and 23 bears killed through defense
of life and property takings, illegal takings, agency kills of problem
bears, and vehicle collisions. Total mortalities now represent more than 10
percent of the best available estimate of a total Kenai Peninsula brown
bear population, numbering 624 bears.

“This level of mortality is not scientifically sustainable,” said Refuge
Manager Andy Loranger in announcing the Refuge emergency closure.

In addition to the total number of mortalities, a high number of
reproductive-age female bears have been killed. Prior to 2013, the Alaska
Department of Fish and Game limited the annual number of human-caused
mortalities of adult female brown bears at 10. At least 22 adult females,
or 33 per cent of all known mortalities, have been killed so far this
year—more than double the previously established limits.

“Survivorship of adult female bears has been shown to be the primary driver
of brown bear population dynamics. Losing so many adult female bears will
have immediate negative impacts on this population,” said Refuge
Supervisory Wildlife Biologist John Morton.

“Kenai brown bears are highly valued by the public for many reasons, and
play an important ecological role,” continued Loranger. “If allowed to
continue this season and into the immediate future, the Service believes
that this level of mortality, which includes a high rate of loss of adult
female bears, will result in a substantial reduction in the Kenai
Peninsula’s brown bear population. This would create a conservation concern
for this population, which in turn would negatively impact hunters and many
other Refuge visitors who value and enjoy viewing and photographing bears.”

Actual human-caused mortalities are higher than the documented number.
“Unreported human-caused mortalities are also occurring at an unknown rate,
and must be considered when identifying sustainable harvest levels,” said
Morton.

While this emergency closure is only temporary under applicable regulations
and will last for 30 days, the Service intends to develop and implement a
longer term brown bear harvest management strategy on the Refuge.

“As it has in previous years, the Service envisions developing and
eventually implementing harvest parameters after appropriate public input
and review, in an effort to ensure that harvests remain sustainable, and
which focus on adequately protecting adult female bears for the healthy
reproduction of the brown bear population on the Kenai Peninsula,” Morton
said.

The Service will hold public hearings in the near future at which this
strategy will be presented to the public. Hearing dates will be released at
a later date.

“We do not take this closure lightly and will work with the Alaska
Department of Fish & Game to develop a strategy to collaboratively manage
brown bear populations that is consistent with the mandates of both
agencies,” said Loranger.

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

Photo Copyright Jim Robertson

For additional information, please contact the Kenai National Wildlife
Refuge office during regular business hours at (907) 262-7021 .

10 thoughts on “U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Issues Emergency Closure of Brown Bear Sport Hunting on Kenai National Wildlife Refuge‏

  1. What a load of crap — “harvest management strategy” and “This would create a conservation concern for this population, which in turn WOULD NEGATIVELY IMPACT HUNTERS and many other Refuge visitors…” Why bother with the spin? Why not say it’s a kill plan? Why not admit the “management” is designed for a bunch of perverts who get aroused by killing and by thoughts of killing? Everybody knows the real goal is to ensure viable populations so these perverts have plenty to kill. That’s what “management” means to “wildlife” agencies.

    Bravo, USFW and Alaska Fish & Game! Your motto should be “perverts serving perverts.” Curse you for all the suffering you’ve caused in the brown bear population.

  2. Thanks, Pam, for your excellent comments. This tragedy is a good example of the problem with humans “managing” anything. Too bad our species cannot manage ourselves. The problem isn’t the bears. All of this artificial manipulation of wild animal populations is another example of our penchant for domination of other life. Game and Fish agencies are sociopathic, and have no regard or respect for wildlife.

    • You got it, Rosemary — game & fish agencies on the state and federal level are sociopathic, and their attitude is callous and exploitative to everything from birds to wild horses to bears, and everything in between . I keep thinking it can’t get any worse, and then my outlook crashes again. A month or two ago I was researching the different state “game” agencies and came across one (I think it was Idaho in the FAQs) that encourages its employees to hunt and trap on the job in order to better advise and serve constituents. [Insert expletive of choice]. The cruelty, the corruption, the absence of any modicum of morality is absolutely staggering.

      • Pamela and Rosemary, You are both right on. does my heart good to read your comments!

  3. How does a public that votes for TEA Party candidates have any valid scientific input regarding long-term survival of any species? They can’t even accept overwhelming science to work to protect their own species. And how does US FWS think they can optimize on more than one variable?

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