WILDLIFF conservation in the us received a
jolt after the [louse of Representatives
passed on April 24, what has been mis-
named as the National Wildlife Refuge
Improvement Act. For it seeks to do precisely the opposite. One of its notorious
features is that it allows the country's 500
odd nature reserves to open their doors to
more'recrcational' activities like hunting,
fishing and water sports including boating. Further, while hunting and fishing
were allowed before, refuge managers
were required to ensure that these activities did not endanger the goal of wildlife protection.
Now, however, the bill gives equal footing to both conservation and recreation activities which, in the words of Robert Dewey of the Defenders of Wildlife, an environmental group, "represents a serious setback to species conservation". The bill has now been passed to the Senate where it could face some stiff opposition. The Clinton administration has been vociferous in its criticism of the bill. Bruce Babbitt, the interior secretary said that he would recommend President Clinton to veto the legislation if it is passed in the Senate.
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