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Ex-hunting lobbyist to head agency

April 05, 2005|Charles Duhigg

The Bush administration has selected a former lobbyist of a controversial trophy-hunting group as the interim head of the federal agency charged with protecting the nation's wildlife.

Matthew J. Hogan, who once lobbied Congress on behalf of the Safari Club International, was promoted to director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, replacing Steve Williams. Hogan was the agency's deputy director.

Williams resigned to become president of the hunter- and angler-supported Wildlife Management Institute.

The Safari Club promotes international trophy hunting of exotic animals, advocates for hunters' rights around the world and sponsors conservation work.

Some hunters and animal rights groups charge that Hogan's appointment is a conflict of interest.

"Fish and Wildlife is supposed to promote conservation. Safari Club International fosters hunting madness around the world and encourages its members to target rare and endangered species," says Michael Markarian, of the Humane Society of the United States.

Interior Department spokesman John Wright disputes that and says Hogan can manage Fish and Wildlife until the White House names a permanent executive.

-- Charles Duhigg

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