Wildlife Services Brutality Exposed, WildEarth Guardians Sues….

“An Arizona wildlife official photographed these heads of mountain lions killed to “protect” cattle in 1989 by Wildlife Services, formerly Animal Damage Control, and provided to the state agency for research. In 2005, Wildlife Services killed 330 mountain lions nationally.”

UPDATE: May 6, 2012

I’m pulling this post back up to the top of the blog because the SacBee posted the third part of their expose on Animal Damage Control  Wildlife Services today.  Please scroll down for link.

===

It’s been a long time coming.  Animal Damage Control, better known by the misnomer Wildlife Services,  is finally getting their due.  WildEarth Guardians is suing  the agency and it couldn’t come any sooner.

From the Washington Post:

“They are asking in a lawsuit filed Monday that a federal judge in Nevada shut down the agency that spent $127 million in 2010 to exterminate more than 5 million animals.”

At the same time, in a three-part series,  the Sacramento Bee is exposing the agencies’ dark, dirty secrets.

Wildlife Services is a barbaric federal agency, the extermination arm of the USDA. They relentlessly kill America’s wildlife because agriculture considers any animal that gets in its way to be collateral damage.  This federal  goon squad shoots, traps, poisons, snares and slaughters millions of animals every year and no group of animals has suffered more than predators. The war on wolves, bears, coyotes and mountain lions has been merciless. The suffering this agency causes is immeasurable.

===

The Sacramento Bee’s Exposé On Wildlife Services

Deadly Poison 1080 Compound 

The killing agency: Wildlife Services’ brutal methods leave a trail of animal death

By Tom Knudson

Published: Sunday, Apr. 29, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 2, 2012 – 10:52 pm

First of three parts

The day began with a drive across the desert, checking the snares he had placed in the sagebrush to catch coyotes.

Gary Strader, an employee of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, stepped out of his truck near a ravine in Nevada and found something he hadn’t intended to kill.

There, strangled in a neck snare, was one of the most majestic birds in America, a federally protected golden eagle.

“I called my supervisor and said, ‘I just caught a golden eagle and it’s dead,’ ” said Strader. “He said, ‘Did anybody see it?’ I said, ‘Geez, I don’t think so.’

“He said, ‘If you think nobody saw it, go get a shovel and bury it and don’t say nothing to anybody.’ ”

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/28/4450678/the-killing-agency-wildlife-services.html#storylink=cpy

===

Wildlife Services’ deadly force opens Pandora’s box of environmental problems

By Tom Knudson

Published: Monday, Apr. 30, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 2, 2012 – 10:52 pm

Second of three parts

Like the prow of a ship, the Granite Mountains rise sharply from the creamy-white playa of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

Here, in rugged terrain owned by the American public, a little-known federal agency called Wildlife Services has waged an eight-year war against predators to try to help an iconic Western big-game species: mule deer.

With rifles, snares and aerial gunning, employees have killed 967 coyotes and 45 mountain lions at a cost of about $550,000. But like a mirage, the dream of protecting deer by killing predators has not materialized.

“It didn’t make a difference,” said Kelley Stewart, a large-mammal ecologist at the University of Nevada, Reno.

For decades, Wildlife Services, part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has specialized in trapping, poisoning and shooting predators in large numbers, largely to protect livestock and, more recently, big game.

Now such killing is coming under fire from scientists, former employees and others who say it often doesn’t work and can set off a chain reaction of unintended, often negative consequences.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/30/4452212/wildllife-services-deadly-force.html#storylink=cpy

===

Unforgiving Snares and How They Work

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/30/4452212_a4452108/wildllife-services-deadly-force.html

===

Long struggles in leg-hold device make for gruesome deaths

Share

By Tom Knudson
tknudson@sacbee.com
Published: Sunday, Apr. 29, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 15A
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 2, 2012 – 10:52 pm

No tool in Wildlife Services’ arsenal kills more nonselectively – or slowly – than the leg-hold trap.

Since 2000, more than 90 species of wildlife have died by mistake in agency traps, including pronghorn antelope, mule deer, river otters, swift foxes, badgers, porcupines and federally protected bald eagles, government records show.

But whether animals are caught accidentally or not, they often struggle for days and die of exposure, injuries and other causes long before a trapper returns to the site.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/28/4450686/ex-trapper-leg-hold-device-probably.html#storylink=cpy

===

Environmental group sues to halt killing practices of federal wildlife agency

By Tom Knudson

Published: Wednesday, May. 2, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 1A
Last Modified: Wednesday, May. 2, 2012 – 10:37 pm

The federal government’s wildlife damage control program is based on outdated science and indiscriminate tools that kill many non-target animals, including protected species, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by WildEarth Guardians, a Colorado-based environmental group.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/02/4458430/environmental-group-sues-to-halt.html#storylink=cpy

===

Suggestions in changing Wildlife Services range from new practices to outright bans

Share
By Tom Knudson
tknudson@sacbee.com
Published: Sunday, May. 6, 2012 – 12:00 am | Page 1A

Last of three parts

Like many ranchers, Bill Jensen drives a pickup, shoots a high-powered rifle and loves to talk about sheep, cattle and the outdoors.

But unlike many ranchers, he no longer relies on the federal government for predator control.

Nor does the Marin County rancher have a choice. Ten years ago Marin, known for its environmental activism, halted lethal federal control and launched a program emphasizing nonlethal methods. Jensen, initially skeptical, has turned the program into a success with miles of electric fencing.

“We’ve pretty much learned how to control coyotes on our own,” said Jensen, whose losses to coyotes have declined 60 percent to 70 percent – from about 50 lambs a year when a federal trapper worked there to 15 to 20 today. “Anything that can help you 24 hours a day, like electric fencing, is a good thing.”

What’s happening in Marin County shows that ranchers can co-exist with predators without lethal federal control. It is part of a broader and varied spirit of reform aimed at finding new, less destructive ways to live with predators and other wildlife.

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/06/4469067/suggestions-in-changing-wildlife.html#storylink=cpy

===

Wildlife Services At Work

Thanksgiving Week Massacre of  Basin Butte Wolves

December 6, 2009

https://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2009/12/06/thanksgiving-week-massacre-of-basin-butte-wolves-stanley-idaho/

===

Remembering The Hog Heaven Wolf Pack

October 23, 2009

https://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2009/10/23/hog-heaven-or-hog-hell/

===

Sage Creek Pack Wiped Out By Aerial Gunners In Montana

October 10, 2009

https://howlingforjustice.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/sage-creek-pack-wiped-out-by-aerial-gunners-in-montana/

Thank you WildEarth Guardians and The Sacramento Bee for shining a very bright light on this gruesome agency that should be defunded or eliminated altogether.

===

Top Photo: Missoula Independent

Photo: Courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Posted in: Wildlife Services War on Wildlife, Wolf Wars

Tags: USDA, Animal Damage Control AKA Wildlife Services, Sacramento Bee, WildEarth Guardians, war on wildlife, traps, snares, 1080 compound, M-44’s, Sage Creek Pack, Hog Heaven Pack, Basin Butte Pack

Locked And Loaded: Wildlife Services Takes Aim At Wolves & Other Predators

aerial gunning of wolves

UDATE: May 2, 2012

In light of the Sacramento Bee’s explosive expose on Wildlife Services and the lawsuit filed against the agency by WildEarth Guardians, I felt it would be important to re-post this 2009 piece.

 Remember this is a repost, reflecting what was happening in 2009,  so a few of the links are outdated but Wildlife Services hasn’t changed, they’re still doing what they’ve been doing for decades, killing wildlife.

===

October 19, 2009

Who is Wildlife Services? If you asked the majority of Americans, they probably couldn’t tell you.  It was formerly known as “Animal Damage Control (ADC)”. The agency is the extermination arm of the Department of Agriculture.

“It’s just a subsidy to agriculture.. Somehow we’ve decided  as a culture that agriculture should be subsidized through the death of animals and this agency is particularly destructive because it robs the public of wildlife and doesn’t even do that much good.” (Jay Tutchton, Environmental law clinic, University of Denver School of Law)

They have the authority  to trap, poison, shoot and aerial gun animals, done mainly for the livestock industry.  Because Wildlife Services keeps a low profile, most people have no idea their tax dollars are paying a federal agency to kill off predators and other wildlife to “protect ranching.”

If you’ve ever wondered, as I have, what’s happened to all the foxes, raccoons, beavers and coyotes, just to name a few, well now you know.  A good many of them are being blown away each year by this agency.  And most of us, have absolutely nothing to say about it.  Does that seem right to you?

The statistics are shocking:

Wildlife Services killed 1456  gray wolves nationally from 2004 to 2008.  That’s an average of 364 dead wolves per year.  They even killed 9 Mexican Gray wolves in that same time period, one of the most endangered animals in the US, they only number 52 wolves.

“The governments own figures again show that mammalian carnivores kill very few livestock (0.18%)  Of the 104.5 million cattle that were produced in 2005, 190,000 (or 0.18%) died as the result of predation from coyotes, domestic dogs, and other carnivores (USDA, 2006). In comparison, livestock producers lost 3.9 million head of cattle (3.69%) to all sorts of maladies, weather, or theft, respiratory problems, digestive problems, calving, unknown, other, disease, lameness, metabolic problems, poison (USDA, 2006)

Coyotes were the primary cattle predators — they killed 97,000 cattle in 2005, followed by domestic dogs — which killed 21,900 cattle. Wolves killed remarkably few cattle, 4,400 head, as did the felids (USDA, 2006)” http://www.goagro.org/index.html

So let’s get this straight. DOMESTIC DOGS killed more cattle than wolves!. That’s from the USDA, 2006 numbers.  Coyotes, who killed the most cattle, 97,000, which still is a very small percentage, paid dearly with their lives.  696,936 coyotes were eliminated by Wildlife Services between 2004-2008.

Truth really does put everything in perspective and when you see how little damage wolves really do compared to other factors,  it’s mind-boggling that we’re having organized wolf  hunts, management plans, aerial gunning, poisoning, denning and  trapping of wolves with whole federal and state agencies devoted to making sure the wolf population doesn’t get any bigger.  You have to ask yourself why? Can you guess?  It’s called irrational fear, intolerance of another species and appalling arrogance.

just another day for wildlife services

Photo: courtesy James Balog

“Wolves killed in Polaris, Montana in 2004 for the purposes of livestock protection. Wildlife Services agents, school children, and teacher pose with dead wolves.”

Photo Courtesy:  http://www.goagro.org/

2005

“In just one year, your tax dollars helped kill 252 gray wolves, 72,816 coyotes, 1.2 million starlings, 6,832 skunks, 330 mountain lions, 2,172 red foxes, 33,469 beavers, 356 black bears, three bald eagles and two grizzly bears. Have you heard of Wildlife Services?” (excerpt from The Exterminators)

2006

“Wildlife Service kill totals for mammals were up sharply from previous years:

  • A record number of gray wolves (278), the subject of a highly publicized reintroduction effort, were killed in numbers that are up more than six-fold since 1996;

Another 116,610 mammalian carnivores, including 87,000 coyotes, 10,000 raccoons, 2,500 bobcats, 500 badgers, and 318 black bears were taken by federal wildlife agents who also killed 1,184 house cats and 512 dogs; and

  • Approximately 50,000 animals from the rodent and rabbit families—the largest toll came from beavers (28,000), followed by nutria (2,500), and marmots and woodchucks (3,700).”

2004-2008

Click this link to see the number of  mammalian carnivores  killed by Wildlife Services from 2004 through 2008:  Beavers aren’t included on the list because they’re in the rodent family  but we know Wildlife Services kills large numbers of them each year, 28, 000 in 2006.

http://www.goagro.org/index.html

Photo courtesy James Balog/www.goagro.org

========================================

We’ve seen the brutal statistics.  How do they accomplish this mass killing of  America’s wildlife?

From all-creatures.org:

Wildlife Services utilizes killing methods that are non-selective, haphazard, and brutal, including:

Trapping and Snaring

Trapping may be the most inhumane method used by Wildlife Services. Traps can go unchecked for days, allowing the animal to suffer. When not killed outright by the trap, animals can endure physiological trauma, dehydration, exposure to severe weather, and predation by other animals. Most traps are notoriously indiscriminate, capturing almost any animal who triggers them. Non-target species found in traps include endangered species, raptors, dogs, and cats. The most commonly used trap is the steel-jawed leghold trap, a restraining device with spring-loaded jaws that clamp on an animal’s foot or leg when triggered. Leghold traps can cause fractures, self-mutilation, limb amputation, and death. A desperate animal will even try to chew off a limb to escape. Snares are primitive wire nooses that tighten around an animal’s leg or neck. When snared, an animal may struggle for days.

===

Aerial Gunning

Alaskan wolf shot by aerial gunner

“Wildlife Services uses helicopters and fixed wing aircraft to shoot animals from the air. In 2007, the agency killed over 37,000 animals using aircraft. An agency Environmental Assessment revealed many wounded animals may be left to die.[4] Because Wildlife Services uses snowfall to track coyotes in early spring, agents may kill pregnant or lactating females. Deaths of the latter leave pups to starve. Aerial gunning is also used for “preventative predator control,” permitting agents to shoot as many carnivores as they can prior to domestic animals entering an area. The price tag for shooting carnivores from the sky can be high: killing one coyote can cost $1,000.

===

Poisoning

M-44s

Photo courtesy USDA

In 2005, Wildlife Services used M-44, small devices that shoot cyanide gas into an animal’s mouth when triggered, to kill more than 12,700 animals nationally.

danger

Wildlife Services prefers two toxins to kill predators: Sodium Monofluoroacetate (aka Compound 1080), a rat poison developed by the Nazis during World War II, and sodium cyanide. To distribute 1080, the agency uses Livestock Protection Collars – rubber bladders attached to the neck of a goat or sheep that, when pierced, releases the poison. 1080 is so lethal a single teaspoon can kill 100 people. Wildlife Services also sets M-44 devices, spring-loaded, baited mechanisms that release sodium cyanide into the mouth of any animal who disturbs the device. 1080 and sodium cyanide present serious national security risks. The FBI has listed both as “super poisons” that are “most likely to be used by terrorists or for malicious intent.”

===

Denning

wolf pups 2

Denning is the practice of tracking carnivores to their dens then killing pups inside. Poisonous gas canisters are placed in dens to asphyxiate pups. Or government agents dig pups out and shoot, club, or decapitate them. Pups have even been burned alive in their den.

Wildlife Services’ lethal control programs ignore the importance of carnivores. As “keystone species,” carnivores play a pivotal role in sustaining ecological integrity and preserving species diversity. For example, large carnivores regulate deer and elk, as well as smaller mammal, populations. The disappearance of top carnivores triggers the loss of other species and the intricate connections among the remaining residents begin to unravel. Many carnivore species need big, wild areas to survive. Wide-ranging animals like grizzly bears are considered “umbrella” species. By protecting habitat for such predators, we save places for many more animal and plant species.””

http://www.all-creatures.org/alert/alert-20081206.html

=============================================

The Exterminators

June 7, 2007

Missoula Independent

mountain lions killed

In just one year, your tax dollars helped kill 252 gray wolves, 72,816 coyotes, 1.2 million starlings, 6,832 skunks, 330 mountain lions, 2,172 red foxes, 33,469 beavers, 356 black bears, three bald eagles and two grizzly bears. Have you heard of Wildlife Services?

http://missoulanews.bigskypress.com/missoula/the-exterminators/Content?oid=1137944

========
HOW CAN YOU HELP?

Predator Defense

Support HR 4775, (UPDATE: It’s now  HR4214)“The Compound 1080 & M-44 Elimination Act”, sponsored by Predator Defense. It’s stalled in Congress and needs our help.  Please call your representative and ask them to support this important legislation.  Eliminating the use of these deadly poisons against wildlife is critical!! Barbarous methods like these do not belong in the 21st century.  Make your voice heard!!

====

Conservation groups have continually called on the USDA to end Wildlife Services’ mass killing of predators and other wildlife, yet they still operate with impunity at the bidding of big ranching.  What will it take for a policy change in Washington?

Contact President Obama and ask him to abolish this destructive agency, who is poisoning, trapping and shooting America’s wildlife.

President Obama

White House Phone Numbers

202-456-1414 (switchboard)
202-456-1111 (white house comment line)

comments@whitehouse.gov

http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/submit-questions-and-comments

====

Group Calls for End to the War on Wildlife

WildEarth Guardians

Seeks End of Aerial Gunning & Poisoning of Wildlife on Public Lands

http://idahostatejournal.com/news/national/article_3254d8c6-db91-11de-b8ab-001cc4c002e0.html

wolf pack in winter

FOR THE WOLVES, FOR THE WILD ONES

===

Photo: Courtesy The Missoula Independent

Posted in: Wildlife Services War on Wildlife, Wolf Wars, gray wolf

Tags:  wolf intolerance, wolves or livestock, USDA, Wildlife Services, M-44, Compound 1080

%d bloggers like this: