Idaho Agreement Restricts Wolf-Killing & Bans Use Of Indiscriminate M-44 “Cyanide Bombs”

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Photo from White Wolf Pack

In a key victory for wildlife, conservation groups finalized an agreement yesterday that sets strict limits on how and where a federal agency can kill wolves in Idaho, it bans the use of M-44 “cyanide bombs” statewide, and prohibits the use of snares to kill wolves on public lands.

The new restrictions on wolf snares and the M-44 ban will remain in place until the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services completes a detailed analysis on the environmental impacts of killing wolves.

“Cyanide bombs and traps are vicious and indiscriminate,” said Andrea Santarsiere, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement. “This victory is a step forward in reducing the suffering of animals at the hands of our federal government.”

As previously reported by WAN, three years ago, a young boy named Canyon Mansfield was 14 years old when a M-44 device near his home exploded, killing his dog and injuring the teen. The device was set illegally and without proper signage on public lands within a quarter mile of Mansfield’s neighborhood in Pocatello, Idaho.

Mansfield stated, “This news is very uplifting because it shows progress in our fight for justice for Kasey (his dog) and everyone else who has suffered from these cyanide bombs. I believe this shows that we are fighting a battle with a victory in sight.”

The settlement also blocks Wildlife Services from targeting wolves in wilderness areas throughout Idaho.

The settlement requires strict limitations on the use of snares and traps, banning the use of snares targeting wolves, and requiring offset jaws and pan tensions that cannot be triggered by smaller animals.

“It’s a shame that it took the poisoning of a child and the killing of a beloved family dog to get Wildlife Services to put the brakes on M-44 deployment in Idaho,” said Brooks Fahy, Executive Director of Predator Defense. “Under this settlement, the tentative moratorium on M-44s in Idaho is locked in, at least until the agency completes a full EIS. We need to ban these indiscriminate poison landmines nationwide before there are more victims.”

This settlement comes after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower court ruling that dismissed a lawsuit challenging Wildlife Services’ statewide wolf-killing program in Idaho.

“The forthcoming analysis will need to take a detailed look at the science surrounding the agency’s predator-killing activities to inform a new program,” said Laurie Rule, an attorney with Advocates for the West. “We will be watching carefully to make sure the analysis complies with all laws and fully examines the impacts and effectiveness of predator damage management in Idaho.

The plaintiffs in this case includes: Western Watersheds Project, the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, and Predator Defense.

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