For Immediate Release, August 18, 2020


Collette Adkins, (651) 955-3821,

Federal Agency Revokes Protections for Wildlife on Scores of National Wildlife Refuges Across Country

WASHINGTON— The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today approved the single-largest expansion ever of hunting and fishing in national wildlife refuges, including allowing bears, mountain lions and other top predators to be killed in more places.

The rule allows expanded hunting and fishing on 2.3 million acres, across 147 wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. It also revokes longstanding protections for predators in many of those areas.

“Mountain lions, bears and other top predators are so important to ecosystems,” said Collette Adkins, the Center for Biological Diversity’s carnivore conservation director. “They already face so many threats to their survival and rely on refuges to be safe havens. But now, for the first time ever, these beautiful and important animals will be in the crosshairs in many American national refuges.”

Ecologically important carnivores like mountain lions, bobcats and foxes will be targeted for hunting, with some refuges providing no limits on the number of animals allowed to be killed.

The new rule also puts endangered wildlife at risk from accidental shootings and disturbance. For example, the rule allows hunting of black bears in grizzly bear territory in Swan River National Wildlife Refuge in Montana. And in Nebraska, shooting of water birds is greenlighted on refuges where whooping cranes live.

In many refuges hunters and anglers can use lead ammunition and tackle, which kills birds like swans and eagles that ingest the lead toxin.

The Center submitted more than 30,000 letters opposing the proposed rule released this spring.

“This rule favors trophy hunters at the expense of the rest of us who love and appreciate bears, bobcats and other animals,” said Adkins. “It’s outrageous, and we’re going to do everything we can to stop it.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.