In response to the state of Alaska killing more than 100 bears and wolves by helicopter in June, supposedly to increase caribou numbers, a coalition of 35 wildlife and Indigenous groups, including Wildlife for All, sent a letter to Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland in August, renewing their demand that federal funds be withheld from states that practice or sanction the killing of native carnivores like wolves.
The groups claim that although the money granted to Alaska under the federal Pittman-Robertson Act was not used directly to buy the bullets or hire the gunners responsible for the killing, it was used to plan and otherwise support the operation. Pittman-Robertson funds are a significant source of income for state wildlife agencies, with more than $1 billion apportioned annually to the states in recent years. The funds are generated by a federal excise tax on firearms and ammunition. Most of the money is used by state wildlife agencies on projects to benefit hunted species, such as deer and elk, as well as for hunter education and programs to recruit more hunters and increase license sales.
Wildlife for All and our coalition members believe strongly that this system urgently needs to change to address the biodiversity crisis. Funding should be diversified so that state agencies can conserve the diversity of life.