The US National Park Service (NPS) has banned the use of baits for trophy hunting bears, but only in national preserves across Alaska, US. It did this by adding a final rule that amended its 2020 regulation for sport hunting and trapping within the state’s national preserves. Trophy hunters use food like spoiled pastries or bacon grease to lure bears to bait sites so they can easily, and cowardly, shoot them from hunting towers.

However, this ban was not done to reduce trophy hunting —  hunting trophies from American black bears remain the world’s number one exported trophy from threatened species — but as a public safety measure. The NPS stated that baiting presents multiple public safety concerns because it encourages bears to become conditioned to human-provided food and increases the likelihood of negative human-bear interactions.

Sarah Creachbaum, NPS Alaska Regional Director, said,  “The amended rule will advance wildlife conservation goals and objectives, including a prohibition on bear baiting in our national preserves, as mandated under the NPS Organic Act of 1916,..“We take our responsibilities under ANILCA seriously and the new rule reflects our commitment to providing conscientious service to the American public…Because bait often includes dog food and human food, including items like bacon grease and pancake syrup, which are not a natural component of animal diets, the NPS was concerned that baiting could lead to bears and other animals associating these foods with people, which would create a variety of risks to people, bears, and property,”

Wayne Pacelle, president of Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy, said to NBC Montana, “Bear baiting violates every norm of wildlife management — dumping jelly doughnuts, meat scraps, and grease in piles or in barrels and then shooting a bear while the animal is gorging on the artificial food source,” Pacelle said in a statement shared online. “Bear baiting shouldn’t be allowed anywhere, least of all on lands managed by the National Park Service. It’s unsporting, foul, and dangerous.”

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Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.