Sleep with Caution

Alaskan hunters able to shoot sleeping animals

Samantha Weir, Staff Reporter

Hibernating animals are facing new dangers with a new law from Congress.

On February 16, 2017, the House of Representatives voted in favor of a federal law that allows the killing of hibernating bears, wolf pups and aerial shooting in Alaska. Wildlife services had worked for years to get this rule in place and with the help of 225 members of the House, Don Young, Alaska’s representative, voted in favor of H.J. Resolution 69.

“I’m not okay with this change in policy,” said Mrs. Church, a Science teacher. “Hunting a hibernating animal is not something the government should support.”

The choice to let this bill become a law rolls back on Alaska’s ban on killing the defenseless bears and wolf cubs. When it was first brought up on the Senate floor by Republican Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, Murkowski said that

“[the ban is] bad for Alaska, bad for hunters, bad for our native peoples, bad for America [and a] direct attack on states’ rights.”

Mrs. Church has a conflicting opinion about the ban being bad for hunters.

It takes technique and skill to hunt/fish, and allowing people to kill animals during the hibernation period, or participate in “aerial hunting” kinda defeats that purpose,” Church commented.

Many people are against the roll back of the ban and the Humane Society of the United States is one of them.

“What the House did today should shock the conscience of every animal lover in America,” stated Wayne Pacelle, the Humane Society CEO. “If the Senate and president concur, we’ll see wolf families killed in their dens [and] bears chased down by planes.”

A Republican representative from Alaska, Representative Don Young, made a statement about how the states’ rights were being breached.

“As to my feelings about the government allowing this, it shows me another case that the government, including Mr. Trump, does not care out the world around us,” said Mrs. Schnettler, a Science teacher. “He has allowed oil pipelines to go through protected land and allowing water resources to be contaminated. He is now allowing a shift in the animal population in our country.”

The government overreaching their boundaries is not the only thing citizens are worried about. Ms. White, a Science teacher, is thinking of the food chains/webs in that environment.

“Proper balance in an ecosystem relies on balance. Taking out predators will allow for the herbivores to overpopulate which will affect the producers/plants in the area,” White explained. “So if the herbivores outreach their resources that is going to affect their quality of life and increase the mortality rate due to starvation. Thus collapsing the ecosystem in the area.”

This decision made by legislature does not just affect the citizens in this case. This affects the animals and the environment that the people of that area depend on.

“People have to understand that we are not the top of the food chain,” White stated. “We are not separate from this circle, we are a part of it. If we don’t start getting that into our collective brain that circle is going to come back on us and we will not like the result.”