Demand stronger protections for wildlife on federal lands

"They’ll never be able to link it to us."

That's what Andrew Renner and his son, Owen Renner, thought when they skied to a remote den on Esther Island in Prince William Sound, Alaska and illegally slaughtered a family of hibernating black bears.

Their despicable actions were captured on a wildlife camera that was set up to study the bears. The haunting video footage shows the men creeping up to the bears’ winter den and shooting the mother as her two babies shriek in fear, until more shots pierce the air.

The hunting of cubs, or a mother bear with cubs, is illegal in this part of Alaska. But that didn’t stop the Renners from murdering innocent, hibernating animals, posing for a picture with the dead mother and smugly stating, "We go where we want to kill."

Andrew and Owen Renner were not found innocent, after destroying evidence at the scene and presenting the adult carcass as a legal kill to the state’s wildlife agency, lying about killing the cubs and submitting falsified information. They later plead guilty; each received jail time and had their hunting licenses suspended. Andrew was fined $9,000 and forfeited personal property including a 22-foot boat, his vehicle and various weapons.

Justice was served, but these animals deserve more respect and compassion. Federal law currently forbids this practice on national preserves in Alaska, but the current administration is looking to remove such prohibitions. If this heinous cruelty occurs while protections are already in place, overturning them would all but encourage these massacres to continue. We need more federal protections, not less, to ensure that these types of cruel and horrific activities are banned for good.

Please tell the Acting Secretary of the Interior, David Bernhardt, that you oppose the proposed rule that would overturn the 2015 National Park Service Rule currently protecting America’s iconic wildlife from trophy hunters and trappers on federal lands -- and urge him to do the same. A decision will be made soon and it is critical that you speak up for bears and other wildlife affected by this ruling.

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Oppose the rule to overturn wildlife protections

Dear Acting Secretary Bernhardt,

Recently obtained video footage pulls back the curtain on the killing of bears in their wintertime dens and exposes it for what it is--barbaric, unsporting and absolutely cruel.

Although the practice of killing a denning bear and her cubs was prohibited in the game unit where the Andrew and Owen Renner killed a mother black bear and her two cubs, there is still deliberation on whether prohibitions of these types of practices on national preserves and the Kenai national wildlife refuge in Alaska should be rolled back.

The Renners' actions make it clear how important it is for us to stop those rollback rules from going into effect. If finalized, additional prohibitions that would be overturned include killing entire wolf packs and their pups at the den, killing brown bears and black bears over bait piles, taking caribou from motorboats and using dogs to hunt black bears on Alaska federal public lands. Two polls of Alaskans show that the majority of the state is against this cruelty to our native carnivores.

Please oppose the rule that would overturn these wildlife protections.

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