Every year the government poisons, traps and guns down hundreds of thousands of our nation's most majestic animals—including wolves, coyotes, grizzly bears and mountain lions—at the request of a minority of anti-wildlife special interests. We're spreading the message that we need to co-exist with, not kill, these beautiful animals. We're asking Congress to defund and increase oversight of this rogue bureaucracy.
Few taxpayers realize that we help fund a program called "Wildlife Services," a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal Plant Health Inspection Service, that wages a dirty war on America's wildlife. Between 2004 and 2011, Wildlife Services killed over 26 million animals purportedly to “protect” agribusiness or “bolster” hunting opportunities: a contention based on unsupported myths. The program spends over $100 million each year to kill wildlife.
In fiscal year (FY) 2015, Wildlife Services killed over 1.6 native animals. The casualties included 284 cougars, 384 gray wolves, 480 black bears, 731 bobcats, 20,334 black-tailed prairie dogs and the destruction of 36,480 of their burrows. The program killed 1,511 gray foxes, 1,534 red foxes, 21,557 beavers, and one critically endangered Mexican wolf. The program also admitted to killing 17 domestic dogs. Former Wildlife Services employees estimate that fewer than half of the killings are actually reported, meaning these numbers are likely hugely under-representative of the actual damage.
In FY 2013, Wildlife Services’ admitted body count was over 4.3 million animals representing dozens of species, including over 2 million animals native to the U.S. The program’s annual report acknowledged responsibility for the deaths of over 75,326 coyotes, 24,390 beavers, 13,048 prairie dogs, 3,706 foxes, 876 bobcats, 419 black bears, 345 cougars, 321 wolves including one critically imperiled Mexican gray wolf, and at least three domestic animals including household pets in one year alone.
In FY 2011,Wildlife Services admitted it killed fewer non-native starlings, but more native carnivores, for a total of 3.8 million reported animals. Many of the victims were unintended, including household pets such as cats and dogs. The veracity of Wildlife Services’ self-reported body count is suspect because it is politically expedient for them to under-report their total kills. One former agent stated that Wildlife Services' agents routinely avoid counting non-target kills.
In FY 2010, Wildlife Services admitted it killed five million animals, including 112,781 native carnivores such as coyotes, wolves, bobcats, cougars, badgers and bears. But its numbers are suspect. In 2010, the program also belatedly admitted to poisoning four million starlings, black birds and others in 2009.
WildEarth Guardians is holding Wildlife Services accountable by:
- Raising public awareness through ad campaigns and other media outreach efforts.
- Demanding accountability from Wildlife Services and decision-makers at every level.
- Petitioning the Obama administration to end aerial gunning and poisoning of wildlife on federal public lands.
- Asking our members and supporters to call on their Congressperson to investigate and defund Wildlife Services’ killing programs.
- Working through an administrative process since 2007 to ban sodium cyanide M-44s and Compound 1080.
- Strategic litigation against their entire outdated program.
By eliminating Wildlife Services, we will give our native wildlife the freedom to roam and to shape the iconic landscapes that are our national treasures.
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