Lead bullets versus Wildlife Conservation Coalition: When environmentalists, conservationists, hunters, anglers, and animal rights groups coalesce, they can form a strong coalition to support protection of wildlife conservation. However, the issue of prohibiting lead bullets to protect wildlife shows why it can be so difficult to attain solidarity among these disparate groups despite their interest in wildlife. A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses how Dan Ashe, the outgoing head of the US Fish and Wildlife agency, banned lead bullets in national wildlife refuges on the final day of the Obama Administration. The article notes that Administration had proposed a ban on lead ammunition in national parks in 2009 but it backed down when the NRA and ammunition industry opposed it. There is substantial scientific evidence to show that many species including endangered species are harmed when they consume lead as a result of bullets or angling equipment. For example, the article cites a Raptor Center of the Univ. of Minnesota as stating that 90 percent of the bald eagles they treat suffer “have elevated lead in their blood” and other reports show lead is a major threat to species such as California Condors. Hunters could use copper bullets but they are more expensive. The NRA and other gun rights organizations view any kind of restriction of ammunition or guns as a threat to the right to do what they want with their guns—a kind of “foot-in-the-door” assumption against any compromise whatsoever. The article points out that state wildlife agencies get much of their funds from hunting and fishing licenses so they generally fail to support these bans. Less clear is how the rank and file hunters and anglers view the issue. My book cites survey data that a large portion of hunters and anglers are nature-lovers and often make visits to view wildlife that do not involve hunting or fishing. Wouldn’t a conservationist-minded hunter or fisher be willing to spend a bit more money to preserve wildlife? I suspect that is the case but as long as hunting issues are dominated by groups like the NRA, this possible support never materializes or has an effect on the policy debate. It is time for conservation-minded hunters and anglers to form their own organization to speak for a more conservation-minded position on lead ammunition and angling equipment. Check out the article at http://www.wsj.com/articles/donald-trump-is-likely-to-lift-curb-on-lead-bullets-at-wildlife-refuges-1485518406
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During my research for the book, I noticed that there was no blog available for sharing informaton on wildlife conservation and thus I set up this blog to accomplish this purpose. Please share any informaticoncerning issues related to wildife policy and politics. I welcome feedback from users concerning this blog and website.