Thursday, February 15, 2007

USSA Invited to Brief Senators On Hunting and Polar Bear Conservation

I got this today in the email and would like to pass it on to my readers.

(Columbus) - The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance has been asked to represent the nation’s sportsmen and address U.S. Senate committee members and staff next week on why listing the polar bear as a threatened species per the Endangered Species Act and curtailing polar bear hunting by U.S. citizens will be detrimental to the species.

Following discussions with Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, the ranking minority member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the USSA was asked to make a presentation to committee members and staff. On Feb. 23, the USSA will make a presentation on how American hunters provide significant funding for successful polar bear conservation in Canada. It will detail why a proposal by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the species as threatened throughout its range will prove detrimental to healthy bear populations.

The briefing comes as Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-California, holds a series of hearings on climate change. The issue is at the heart of a lawsuit brought by environmental groups to list the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The groups believe the animals are threatened by shrinking Arctic sea ice as a result of prospective climate change.

“The service’s proposal to list polar bears as a federally threatened species, including populations in Canada that are stable and increasing, is a strike by the federal government that again demonstrates an anti-hunting bias,” said USSA Senior Vice President Rick Story. “The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance formed the International Hunters' Rights Campaign in 2006 because of our concern that the federal government continues to disregard sportsmen’s interests.”

The International Hunters' Rights Campaign is also working to prevent the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from slashing tax deductions and imposing burdensome import regulations on international big game hunters. The campaign comes as the service works on regulation reform for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora.

On Dec. 27, 2006, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed that the polar bear be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. Instead of limiting threatened status to only the distinct population segments that are decreasing, the service recommendation will put all of the bears, including healthy, huntable populations, under the same restrictions.

The USSA is preparing comments to submit to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opposing the proposal. A final decision on the listing will be made in Dec. 2007 after a 12-month public comment period and scientific review.

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organizations that protects and advances America’s heritage of hunting, fishing and trapping. It does so in the courts, state legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website,

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