Rep. Westlake Introduces Legislation to Protect Arctic Caribou Herds
HB 211 Will Help Conserve the Herds by Imposing an Additional Restriction on Nonresident Hunters
Juneau – Earlier today, Representative Dean Westlake (D-Kiana) introduced House Bill 211 to further protect one of Alaska’s most vital resources. HB 211 requires nonresident hunters, without a second degree of kin, to be accompanied by a licensed professional hunting guide in order to take a caribou from any of the Western Arctic, Porcupine, or Central Arctic Caribou Herds.
“We are subsistence first in my region and these herds have sustained us for thousands of years. This bill helps ensure a sustainable harvest will continue for thousands more,” said Rep. Westlake. “In my region, it’s a sad reality that if you can’t get a ‘tuttu’, caribou, then you’ll be eating canned food all year, which isn’t very tasty.”
The population of the Central Arctic Herd has fallen by 69 percent since 2010 and the Western Arctic Herd has decreased by 41 percent since 2003.
“With no definitive cause yet determined for the population decline, we should take some extra precautions when managing these herds,” said Rep. Westlake. “These caribou are a vital natural resource that many rural communities depend on for subsistence.”
HB 211 was introduced today and referred to the House Resources Committee.
For more information, contact Forrest Wolfe in Rep. Westlake’s office at (907) 465-3473.