Death Toll: 3.2 Million Animals Killed by Wildlife Services in 2015

3.2 Million Animals Killed by Wildlife Services in 2015

FoxThe newest tallies from America’s secretive wildlife-killing program are in, and they’re grim. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services says it killed more than 3.2 million animals during fiscal year 2015. That’s about a half-million more animals than the program killed the previous year.

Despite increasing calls for reform, Wildlife Services’ reckless slaughter continues, last year wiping out 385 gray wolves, 68,905 coyotes, 480 black bears, 284 mountain lions, 731 bobcats, 492 river otters, 3,437 foxes and 21,559 beavers.

The Center for Biological Diversity has been leading the charge to reform this rogue program, which often does its killing at the behest of the agricultural industry and other powerful interests.

“There’s simply no scientific basis for continuing to shoot, poison and strangle millions of animals every year — a cruel practice that not only fails to effectively manage targeted wildlife but poses an ongoing threat to other animals, including pets,” said the Center’s Michael Robinson.

Read more in our press release and consider donating to our Stop Wildlife Services Fund.


The Endangered Species Act: Making Birds Great Again

Making Birds Great AgainA groundbreaking Center analysis has uncovered excellent news: 85 percent of continental U.S. birds protected under the Endangered Species Act have increased or stabilized their population size since being protected. The average population increase was 624 percent.

The study, the first of its kind, examined year-by-year population sizes of all 120 bird species ever protected by the Endangered Species Act. Recovering species include California condors in California and Arizona (up 391 percent since 1968), whooping cranes in the central United States (up 923 percent since 1967), wood storks in the Southeast (up 61 percent since 1984), Kirtland’s warblers in the Great Lakes (up 1,077 percent since 1971), California least terns (up 1,835 percent since 1970) and Puerto Rican parrots (up 354 percent since 1967).

“The Endangered Species Act has been spectacularly successful for America’s most imperiled birds,” said Loyal Mehrhoff, the Center’s endangered species recovery director. “From plovers on the East Coast to warblers in the Great Lakes, terns in the Midwest, falcons in Texas, bald eagles in the Rocky Mountains and towhees in California, the Act has rapidly and dramatically increased bird population sizes and put these birds on the road to full recovery.”

Check out our press release and interactive website.


Help Sought for Pacific Bluefin Tuna as Population Plummets

Bluefin tunaPacific bluefin tuna — majestic, warm-blooded ocean predators being dangerously overfished for the high-end sushi market — have sunk to frighteningly low population levels, so on Monday the Center and allies petitioned the National Marine Fisheries Service to protect the fish under the Endangered Species Act. Pacific bluefin have declined more than 97 percent since commercial fishing began.

Intensifying the concern surrounding the tuna’s drastic population drop, almost all Pacific bluefin tuna harvested today are caught before they can reproduce. In 2014 their population produced the second-lowest number of young fish seen since 1952. Without young fish to mature into spawning stock and replace the aging adults, the future is dark for Pacific bluefin.

“If these fish don’t get help soon, we may see the last Pacific bluefin tuna sold off and the species lost for good,” said the Center’s Catherine Kilduff. “Fisheries management has failed to keep them off the path to extinction.”

Read more in our press release.


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Rare California Salamander Wins Recovery Plan

California tiger salamanderThanks to a suit by the Center, rare, beautiful California tiger salamanders in Sonoma County won a final recovery plan Monday to aid their survival — and eventual recovery and removal from the endangered species list. The plan includes a call to purchase and permanently protect about 15,000 acres of the salamander’s breeding ponds and adjacent uplands.

Although Sonoma County’s tiger salamanders have been protected as “endangered” for more than a decade, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service hadn’t developed a recovery plan to guide management of the species — so in 2012 the Center sued, and the lawsuit’s settlement resulted in this week’s victory. The plan focuses on fighting major threats such as habitat loss and fragmentation by protecting breeding ponds and adjacent uplands; it also calls for reducing risks from non-native predators, roads, contaminants and disease.

“This plan gives us hope for one of our most imperiled salamanders,” said the Center’s Jenny Loda.

Read more in The Press Democrat.


$10,000 Reward Offered Over Wolf Pups Killed in Idaho

Gray wolf pupThe Center is pledging a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for illegally killing wolf pups after removing them from their den in north Idaho’s Kootenai County, about 15 miles outside the city of Coeur d’Alene.

The pledge, along with an undisclosed reward offered by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, comes as Idaho officials are seeking leads in their criminal investigation of the poaching, which likely occurred the week of May 16, officials said.

“Pulling young wolf pups from their den and killing them is repulsive,” said Center attorney Andrea Santarsiere. “Coming on the heels of a protected grizzly bear being killed last month, it’s a stark reminder that Idaho’s still-recovering populations of big carnivores are under constant threat from poachers.”

Fish and Game officers are asking anyone with information about the incident to call the Citizens Against Poaching Hotline, (800) 632-5999. Callers may remain anonymous.

Learn more from Oregon Public Broadcasting.


U.S. Pet Trade Annually Imports 6 Million Fish Exposed to Cyanide

Poisoned WatersA new analysis by the Center and For the Fishes finds that 6 million tropical marine fish imported into the United States each year for the pet trade have been exposed to cyanide poisoning. The findings coincide with the release of Disney/Pixar’s movie Finding Dory, which is likely to fuel a rapid increase in the sale of tropical reef fish in the United States, including royal blue tangs like Dory.

To catch fish with cyanide, crushed cyanide tablets are placed in squirt bottles filled with seawater. The dissolved cyanide is then sprayed directly onto the reefs near the targeted fish to stun the fish and make it easier to scoop them up. Sadly as much as 50 percent of all nearby fish are killed on contact, as well as nearby corals.

The Center and allies have called on the Obama administration to ban aquarium fish caught using cyanide.

 


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Living on Earth: The Future of Glyphosate — Listen Now

Monarch caterpillarThe future of glyphosate, more commonly known as the herbicide Roundup, is at a critical crossroad. Last year the World Health Organization’s cancer-research arm found that the chemical is probably a human carcinogen; soon afterward California’s Environmental Protection Agency announced it would list glyphosate as being known to cause cancer.

There’s also a growing grassroots movement to rein in Roundup use across the United States. Not only does it threaten human health — it puts wildlife at risk too. Studies have pointed to glyphosate as one of the leading causes of decline in monarch butterflies because it destroys milkweed, the monarch caterpillar’s sole food source.

The radio program Living on Earth tackled this issue last week, interviewing the Center’s Dr. Nate Donley. Listen to the story now.


Charity Navigator Awards Four-star Rating to Center

Charity NavigatorThe Center just got a new four-star rating (the highest score possible, in case you didn’t know) from renowned nonprofit evaluator Charity Navigator. That means we’re deemed one of the most financially efficient organizations out there — probably because we funnel as much of our funding as possible, more than 83 percent, straight into saving species and lands, instead of using it up for administration, advertising and marketing gimmicks.

Yep, the precious money we receive (including from our supporters — thank you!) goes to protect polar bears, wolves and birds, not to mail out plush-toy versions of them.

We’re proud of our rating and hope you are too.


Wild & Weird: Puffballs Reproduce With Raindrops — Watch Video

PuffballsCommon store-bought mushrooms — the portobello, for instance — have open, umbrella-like caps with spore-bearing gills on the underside. Puffballs, however, produce all their spores within an enclosed, spheroidal fruiting body. For puffball spores to be released, the fruiting body must be ruptured. This is often accomplished by the impact of raindrops, which push out puffy brown clouds — millions of tiny spores — that disperse from the parent fungus into the wind and off into the wider world.

Check out our video with real-time and time-lapse imagery of puffballs fruiting and rupturing in the rain.

2 thoughts on “Death Toll: 3.2 Million Animals Killed by Wildlife Services in 2015

  1. Thank you for this great post, these numbers are outrageous, beyond comprehension for a normal, rational, compassionate human. Even worse, is that these figures are just what the F&W agencies do themselves, it does not reflect the other 200 million F&W gives for Hunters opportunities. It is a mass genocide on animals by these sociopathic killers. Every fiber of my being is damaged and in constant pain knowing this.

  2. Reblogged this on Moral Dilimia and commented:
    Great post, these numbers are outrageous, beyond comprehension for a normal, rational, compassionate human. Even worse, is that these figures are just what the F&W agencies do themselves, it does not reflect the other 200 million F&W gives for Hunters opportunities. It is a mass genocide on animals by these sociopathic killers. Every fiber of my being is damaged and in constant pain knowing this.

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