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Trump Administration Expands Hunting and Fishing in Wildlife Refuges

August 19, 2020
Jen Pelz, 303-884-2702, jpelz@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release
Public Lands, Rivers, Wildlife  
#EndTheWarOnWildlife, #EndangeredSpeciesAct, #LivingRio, #LivingRivers, #RioGrande, #StopExtinction, #WildlandsForWildlife
SANTA FE, N.M.— The Trump administration is expanding hunting and fishing on 147 national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries, despite public comments highlighting the lack of protections for imperiled species and the conflict the expansion will create with existing public uses on the refuges.

“This reckless expansion of hunting and fishing on national wildlife refuges endangers the conservation values of these special places,” said Jen Pelz, Rio Grande Waterkeeper and Wild Rivers Program Director at WildEarth Guardians. “This decision needlessly puts imperiled wildlife at risk.”

Five refuges along the Rio Grande also provide key habitat for species listed and protected under the Endangered Species Act. The refuges combine to provide habitat to at least 25 federally listed species, including the ocelot, Gulf Coast jaguarundi, northern aplomado falcon, and Walker’s manioc (TX); the Rio Grande silvery minnow (NM); and the Southwestern willow flycatcher and yellow-billed cuckoo (CO, NM).

The proposed hunting and fishing expansion will directly impact these imperiled species through habitat destruction and disturbance to possible direct harm and harassment. For example, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge expansion, the hunt plan opens a tract to hunting where ocelot have been documented. The Rio Grande is a major flyway for migratory birds and also serves as a vital corridor for fish and wildlife. In the early 1900s, the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, in particular, played an important role in mimicking the disappearing Rio Grande floodplain and restoring sandhill cranes from only a few hundred birds back to their current population in the tens of thousands of birds.

“This action is against everything wildlife refuges are supposed to stand for,” said Taylor Jones, endangered species advocate for WildEarth Guardians. “This is yet another example of the Trump administration’s wanton misuse of public lands.”

Click here for a list and map of National Wildlife Refuges impacted by the expansion.

ocelot brad fulk wildearth guardians

Listed in 1982 as endangered, the ocelot is protected by the Endangered Species Act. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in the United States fewer than 100 ocelots exist, mainly in south Texas within the Lower Rio Grande Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge and Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge. Photo Brad Fulk.

Other Contact
Taylor Jones, 720-443-2615, tjones@wildearthguardians.org