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Tlingit subsistence harvest of gull eggs


U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski reintroduced legislation restoring the traditional rights of the Huna Tlingit to gather glaucous-winged gull eggs in Glacier Bay National Park as part of their subsistence hunting activities last week.

Glacier Bay National Park in Southeast Alaska is the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tlingit, who traditionally harvested gull eggs at rookeries from the cliffs of Glacier Bay prior to, and following, establishment of the park. Collection was prohibited in the 1960s under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and National Park Service regulations.

The National Park Service determined in 2010 that annual harvests would not harm the gull populations in the park, but congressional action is still required to authorize gull egg collection.

Murkowski’s legislation would allow tribal members of the Hoonah Indian Association to collect gull eggs up to two times a year at as many as five locations within Glacier Bay National Park. Murkowski introduced similar legislation in 2011, during the 112th Congress. Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, plans to introduce companion legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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