The Center For Biological Diversity Releases New Data Revealing That 1.3 Million Native Animals Were Killed Last Year By U.S. Wildlife Services

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The arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services unfathomably killed more than 1.3 million native animals during 2017, according to new data released by the Center For Biological Diversity.

According to the organization, the multimillion-dollar federal wildlife-killing program targets wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals for destruction, primarily to benefit the agriculture industry.

As per its website, Wildlife Services (WS) was created to provide Federal leadership and expertise to resolve wildlife conflicts to allow people and wildlife to coexist.

Resolve? Co-exist?

Their purpose seems highly questionable and unfair when a staggering 2.3 million animals were killed in total last year with more than one million of them native to their respective areas.

“The Department of Agriculture needs to get out of the wildlife-slaughter business,” Collette Adkins, a biologist, and an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity said in a statement. “There’s just no scientific basis for continuing to shoot, poison and strangle more than a million animals every year. Even pets and endangered species are being killed by mistake, as collateral damage.”

According to the latest report, the federal program last year killed 357 gray wolves; 69,041 adult coyotes, plus an unknown number of coyote pups in 393 destroyed dens; 624,845 red-winged blackbirds; 552 black bears; 319 mountain lions; 1,001 bobcats; 675 river otters, including 587 killed “unintentionally”; 3,827 foxes, plus an unknown number of fox pups in 128 dens; and 23,646 beavers.The program also killed 15,933 prairie dogs outright, as well as an unknown number killed in more than 38,452 burrows that were destroyed or fumigated.

Photo by Tom Koerner, USFWS 

These horrifying figures almost certainly underestimate the actual number of animals killed, as program insiders have revealed that Wildlife Services kills many more animals than it reports.

According to the new data, the wildlife-killing program unintentionally killed nearly 3,000 animals last year, including wolves, badgers, bears, bobcats, foxes, muskrats, otters, porcupines, raccoons, and turtles. Wildlife Services’ killing of nontarget birds included chickadees, bluebirds, cardinals, ducks, eagles, grouse, hawks, herons, swans, and owls. Dozens of domestic animals, including pets and livestock, were also killed. Such data reveal the indiscriminate nature of painful leghold traps, strangulation snares, poisons, and other methods used by federal agents.

“The barbaric, outdated tactics Wildlife Services uses to destroy America’s animals need to end,” Adkins added. “Wolves, bears, and other carnivores help balance the web of life where they live. Our government needs to end its pointless cycle of violence.”

Sadly, the wildlife-killing program contributed to the decline of gray wolves, Mexican wolves, black-footed ferrets, black-tailed prairie dogs and other imperiled species during the first half of the 1900’s and continues to impede their recovery today.

It’s Tragic!

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