Wildlife killings across US worry and outrage experts
Conservation groups have decried wildlife killings spearheaded by the U.S. federal government. In 2021, the Wildlife Services department killed over 1.75 million animals across the country, at a rate of about 200 animals per hour. Both invasive and native species were targeted in the killings.
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Last year alone, Wildlife Services killed 404,538 native animals. These include 324 gray wolves, 64,131 coyotes, 433 black bears, 605 bobcats, 200 mountain lions, 24,687 beavers and 3,014 foxes, among others. These figures have sparked outrage among conservation groups that call the killings reckless and cruel. However, wildlife officials say the killings are necessary to protect agricultural output and threatened species. Further, they say some of the species being killed threaten human health.
Other species targeted in the killings include alligators, armadillos, European starlings, doves, otters, owls, snakes and porcupines. The European starlings alone accounted for over a million of the killed animals.
Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity, says that the killings fail to address issues and create additional conflicts. “It’s stomach-turning to see this barbaric federal program wiping out hundreds of thousands of native animals,” said Adkins. “Killing carnivores like wolves and coyotes to supposedly benefit the livestock industry just leads to more conflicts and more killing. This is a truly vicious cycle, and we’ll continue to demand change from Wildlife Services.”
Critics also expressed concern over the killing methods. For instance, the department of Wildlife Services uses M-44 cyanide bombs to kill some animals. The canisters are placed in landscapes and eject a cloud of cyanide when tugged by animals. This approach is often used on foxes and coyotes.
Such methods can also endanger humans and domestic animals. For example, a 2017 case in Pocatello, Idaho, had a 14-year-old boy injured and his dog killed after encountering an M-44 on a walk.
Via The Guardian