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Final Rule by the USFWS banning pack llamas in ANWR

In April 2020, the US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) announced a proposal to prohibit the use of pack llamas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) as part of a proposed regulation package. The rationale for this ban was based on a perceived camelid "disease risk" which is not supported by science. (For background on the proposal go to this blog post - USFWS Attempting to Ban Pack Llamas in ANWR)

The llama user group made extensive comments during the open pubic comment period which closed June 8, 2020 and also participated in a public meeting held via teleconference due to the pandemic.  Public comment and public testimony clearly demonstrated the USFWS camelid "disease risk" hypothesis was indefensible. Furthermore multiple procedural violations by USFWS were noted. (Go to this link for more on procedural violations - NEPA Violations)

In spite of the llama community's gallant effort, USFWS ignored science and came out with a final rule effective August 31, 2020 which prohibits/bans use of pack llamas (camelids) in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The llama organizations are currently mounting a legal defense to reverse this decision by the USFWS. Thanks again to everyone who took time to comment.

Here's a link to the entire final rule on the Federal Register -https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/08/31/2020-16003/2020-2021-station-specific-hunting-and-sport-fishing-regulations

 Summary of the final rule below.

 AGENCY:

Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), are opening, for the first time, eight National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) that were previously closed to hunting and sport fishing. In addition, we are opening or expanding hunting and sport fishing at 89 other NWRs and adding pertinent station-specific regulations for other NWRs that pertain to migratory game bird hunting, upland game hunting, big game hunting, and sport fishing for the 2020-2021 season. We are also opening hunting or sport fishing on nine units of the National Fish Hatchery System (NFHs). We are also adding pertinent station-specific regulations that pertain to migratory game bird hunting, upland game hunting, big game hunting, and sport fishing at these nine NFHs for the 2020-2021 season. Further, we are opening 41 limited-interest easement NWRs in North Dakota for upland and big game hunting and sport fishing in accordance with State regulations. Access to these NWRs is controlled by the current landowners, and, therefore, they are not open to the public unless authorized by the landowner. We are also making regulatory changes to existing station-specific regulations in order to reduce the regulatory burden on the public, increase access for hunters and anglers on Service lands and waters, and comply with a Presidential mandate for plain language standards. Lastly, we are prohibiting domestic sheep, goat, and camelid pack animals on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

DATES:

This rule is effective August 31, 2020.

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