Western big-game species stand to gain under conservation measures announced by Interior secretary, who pledges to base management decisions on ‘best available science’
SALT LAKE CITY – Following a pledge by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to improve the quality of big-game habitat, including winter range and migration corridors, over a cross-section of Western states, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers President and CEO Land Tawney offered the following response:
“Big-game species such as mule deer, pronghorn and elk rely on access to established migration routes to reach important seasonal habitat. Conserving these wildlife corridors is critical to their ability to maintain robust, huntable population numbers.
“Backcountry Hunters & Anglers is encouraged, therefore, by Secretary Zinke’s commitment to conserve and improve big-game corridors and winter range, as well as his pledge to rely on the best available science in doing so, a practice that should guide all decisions impacting our natural resources, fish and wildlife, and public lands and waters, especially in the face of the secretary's stated plan to pursue energy dominance. We look forward to details on how this plays out on the ground.
“We commend the secretary’s decision but likewise urge him to apply the same rigorous approach to other resource management challenges, such as our Western sagebrush steppe, home to hundreds of species of wildlife and offering access to top-notch hunting and fishing. These unique public lands and waters deserve no less. Theodore Roosevelt would no doubt agree.”
Zinke issued Secretarial Order 3362 this afternoon at the Western Conservation and Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City, Utah. The order will “improve habitat quality and western big game winter range and migration corridors for antelope, elk, and mule deer” as well as foster “improved collaboration with states and private landowners … using the best available science,” according to a department press release.
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