Current work in wildlife, rivers, public lands, and climate
Trump Administration Expands Hunting and Fishing in Wildlife 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.”