Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Governor Schweitzer halts federal wildlife shipments

Montana's governor on Tuesday issued an order blocking the Interior Department from transporting fish and wildlife anywhere within the state or across state lines — raising the stakes in his ongoing tussle with federal officials over their management of wildlife. Gov. Brian Schweitzer said he was concerned the federal agency's actions have allowed animal diseases such as brucellosis and chronic wasting disease to spread across the region. He also said he wants to halt the transfer of bison to other states from the National Bison Range. The Democratic governor said those bison are "genetically impure mongrels" that should not be used for conservation purposes. Previously, Schweitzer has called on the federal government to stop the artificial feeding of elk on the National Elk Refuge in neighboring Wyoming — a practice biologists have said concentrates wildlife populations and increases the chances of disease transmission. "It's their cavalier disregard for wildlife genetics and disease," Schweitzer said. "They don't seem to be interested in changing their behavior." He said the order will remain in place until federal officials show cooperation with Montana over wildlife. An Interior Department spokesman said he had not yet seen the order and couldn't immediately comment...more

The gov's E.O. is here.

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