Exposing the Big Game

Forget Hunters' Feeble Rationalizations and Trust Your Gut Feelings: Making Sport of Killing Is Not Healthy Human Behavior

Exposing the Big Game

California Court Approves Ban on Federal Wildlife Poisoning, Trapping

For Immediate Release: April 7, 2020

Restrictions Aim to Protect Rare Tricolored Blackbirds, Beaver, Gray Wolves

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In response to a lawsuit filed by wildlife advocacy groups, a federal animal-killing program must restrict its use of bird-killing poisons in Northern California and stop setting strangulation snares and other traps in places like the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge Complex.

The agreement, approved today by a San Francisco federal court, also directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to analyze the environmental impacts of its killing of coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions and other wildlife in California’s “Sacramento District.” This 10-county region covers Colusa, El Dorado, Lake, Marin, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties.

“This victory will save hundreds of animals that would have needlessly suffered and died in traps set by Wildlife Services over the next several years,” said Collette Adkins, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney representing the conservation groups involved in the lawsuit. “It’s another important win in our fight to shut down this agency’s destructive and indiscriminate war on bobcats, coyotes and other wildlife.”

Under the court order approved today, Wildlife Services must provide, by the end of 2023, an “environmental impact statement” that analyzes the effects and risks of its wildlife-killing program in the Sacramento District. It must also offer opportunities for public input.

Pending completion of that study, the court order imposes several measures to protect wildlife in the 10-county area. For example, it restricts use of the avicide DRC-1339 to prevent accidental poisoning of state-threatened tricolored blackbirds. It also bans any use of body-gripping traps, such as strangulation snares, in several areas.

The court order further ends most beaver-killing in waterways where endangered wildlife depends on beaver-created habitats. The order also spells out several measures to protect California’s endangered gray wolves from being accidentally killed in traps set for other carnivores.

“We are pleased that Wildlife Services has agreed to consider the environmental impacts of its wildlife-killing program,” said Cristina Stella, an attorney at the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Wild animals in California deserve our protection, and this victory assures that they will be free from some of the cruelest killing practices until Wildlife Services complies with federal law.”

“This agreement will ensure greater transparency and accountability from a federal agency that has run roughshod over America’s wildlife for far too long,” said Camilla Fox, Project Coyote executive director. “Many cost effective, non-lethal solutions exist to address human-wildlife conflicts that are more humane, ecologically sound and ethically defensible. We are hopeful that this settlement will propel a shift in this direction statewide.”

Today’s victory is the result of a lawsuit filed in August 2019 by the Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Legal Defense Fund and Project Coyote.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services is a multimillion-dollar federal program that uses painful leghold traps, strangulation snares, poisons and aerial gunning to kill coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals. Most of the killing is in response to requests from the agriculture industry.

In 2018 Wildlife Services reported killing nearly 1.5 million native animals nationwide. That year, in California, the program reported killing 26,441 native animals, including 3,826 coyotes, 859 beavers, 170 foxes, 83 mountain lions and 105 black bears. The 5,675 birds killed in 2018 in California included blackbirds, ducks, egrets, hawks, owls and doves.

Today’s victory follows several other recent wins by wildlife advocates in their campaigns against Wildlife Services, including in California (2019 and 2017), Oregon (2018), Colorado (2017), Arizona (2017), Idaho (2019 and 2018) and Wyoming (2019).



Posted Feb 21st, 2019 in Blog

Breaking down the coyote mating memeIf you’re friends with a pet owner, dog walker, or maybe even just someone who’s a fan of clicking the ‘share’ button, you’ve likely seen the post below. It states that coyotes are actively mating, and that they become more aggressive at this time of year. Further, it implies that coyotes will draw dogs to an awaiting pack to kill them.

Where to start?

There is some truth in the post: coyotes are mating this time of year. However, they’re monogamous – so only young coyotes will be seeking a new mate. The gestation period is roughly 60 days, give or take. And loose dogs can come into conflict with coyotes (as well as other wildlife to whom dogs are seen as predators or risks toward). That’s about where the facts of this post end, and the sensationalism and disinformation begin.

This post indicates that an individual coyote will encourage a dog to chase them, then slowly lead them back to a pack (who is waiting for your dog). This is a wildly inaccurate assessment of canine behaviour, both for domestic dogs and for coyotes. What has been documented is dogs chasing or harassing wildlife of all sizes and stripes – loose dogs can pose a major threat to other animals.

Coyotes are naturally curious, and an essential part of their ecosystems. They will watch a dog and determine if they are a threat (that’s the long stare you may hear about). But if chased by a dog, which is what dogs often do, they will return to the safety of their family – just like you would if you were being chased by a predator. At that point, a coyote family may defend themselves, their territory, their den, or a food source from a predator or invader. This is not luring or some form of trickery, but very simple cause and effect initiated by a loose dog chasing wildlife.

Male coyotes do not become more aggressive this time of year. Both coyotes in a mated pair will protect each other, their territory, their resources like food, and their den or pups. The role a dog or human play in this is entirely on humans – not coyotes.

About the picture

This photo is deeply upsetting to those of us who have seen the original photo series. While it may appear to be a coyote attacking a dog and grabbing his collar, the full, uncropped series of images shows a coyote trapped against a fence line by their back leg. Three dogs are attacking and snapping at the coyote (the photo showing a third dog is not shown below due to its graphic nature), and there is evidence that they have bitten them on the hind quarters. This is not a coyote attacking – it is a coyote desperately defending themselves against three dangerous predators and the human who trapped the coyote. This is animal cruelty – and it’s been shared and promoted by unknowing animal lovers across the internet.

If you love animals – be it dogs, coyotes, cats, bears, or even guinea pigs, please consider deleting your share of that original post and sharing this one instead. You can also share this post into the comments of friends who have posted the original meme.

Knowledge is an essential step on the path to compassionate co-existence and co-flourishing, and it starts with you.

This blog was co-authored by Coyote Watch Canada and our friends at The Fur-Bearers.

Coyotes are poised to invade South America. Humans are to blame.

A coyote wearing a GPS radio collar roams Elysian Park in Los Angeles after a heavy rain in May. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)
A coyote wearing a GPS radio collar roams Elysian Park in Los Angeles after a heavy rain in May. (Damian Dovarganes/AP)
Jan. 9, 2020 at 11:15 a.m. PST

There’s an invasion afoot at the border of Central America and South America. The assailant: North America’s coyote.

Coyotes are among the most adaptable species in the world. No matter where they go, they seem to make themselves at home, from the frosty tundras of Canada to the deserts of Mexico to the busy cities of the United States. Historically, their range ended where the jungles of Central America began, but now scientists worry that barrier isn’t holding up.

A recent study underscores why: Deforestation in the rainforests of Panama has carved out new routes of passage for the coyote. Before long, the paper’s authors warn, the species could inhabit an entirely new continent — the first wave in what could be a new threat to the biodiversity of the Western hemisphere.

The study, published recently in the Journal of Mammalogy, used camera-trap surveys and data from roadkill to track the movement of the intrepid animal. Coyotes began punching through the jungles south of Mexico in the 1950s, reaching the isthmus of Panama in the early 1980s. Since then, as the country lost hundreds of thousands of acres of jungle to agriculture, the animals rapidly expanded their territory, crossing the Panama Canal around 2014.

in the course of just three years, beginning in 2015, the animals pushed forward their territory by at least 124 miles, the study says. Scientists have detected the species all the way to the western edge of Panama’s Darien National Park — the last obstacle left before they reach South America.

That obstacle might just hold back the coyote’s conquest. After all, humans have yet to tame Darien’s dense jungles and wetlands, home to fierce jaguars and deadly snakes. Attempts at completing a road through the region — which would have filled the last remaining gap in the Pan-American Highway running from northern Alaska to the southern tip of Argentina — failed in the 1970s, and humans have yet to attempt it since.

But the cunning coyote might yet prevail. “Anyone who studies coyotes for long knows not to underestimate them,” said Roland Kays, head of the Biodiversity Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and co-author of the study.

Kays points out that another invasive species has already made the jump from one American continent to the next — in the opposite direction. The crab-eating fox, another adventurous canid species native to South America, made its way from Colombia to Panama through the Darien gap a couple of years ago, also largely thanks to deforestation. The fox species and the coyote now share territory for the first time in recorded history.

The ramifications for such a species interchange have yet to be seen, but if previous episodes of invasive species tell us anything, it won’t be good. Coyotes that reach South America would almost certainly spread far and wide, just as they have in the north. The coyotes aren’t typically any more threatening than feral dogs. But they would disrupt food chains and compete for ecological resources with native wildlife across the continent. They would also clash with South American human communities, as they have in North American cities.

And coyotes could just be the start. As deforestation continues, other species might follow the path across the Darien gap, including insects and agricultural pests. Who knows what havoc such travelers could wreak on either side of the Panamanian land bridge?

Why risk such a fate? Fortunately, the nations of Central America resolved last month at the U.N. COP 25 Climate Change Conference to halt the destruction of the “five great forests” of southern Mexico and Central America, including the Darien. It’s an encouraging development, but those nations must be held accountable to make sure they actually follow through.

To begin, they can set one concrete goal: Hold the line against invading coyotes. Fortify the region’s rainforest defenses. Do everything possible to keep these animals from arriving in a new continent. If we can stave off this offense, perhaps we can win the bigger war to save biodiversity.

Read more:

Trump’s EPA Re-Approves ‘Cyanide Bombs’ Deadly to Coyotes, Foxes and Feral Dogs, other Wildlife

Coyote pictured at Yellowstone National Park. Hanna May / Unsplash

Wildlife advocacy groups cheered when the Trump administration reversed its decision to approve the use of deadly predator traps known as “cyanide bombs” in August. But now the administration has reversed course again. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published an interim decision Thursday and approved their use with added safety measures.

“This appalling decision leaves cyanide traps lurking in our wild places to threaten people, pets, and imperiled animals,” carnivore conservation director at the Center for Biological Diversity Collette Adkins said in a joint press release from wildlife groups. “The EPA imposed a few minor restrictions, but these deadly devices have just wreaked too much havoc to remain in use. To truly protect humans and wildlife from these poisonous contraptions, we need a nationwide ban.”

They became especially controversial after one of them injured a young boy in Idaho in 2017 and killed his dog. Idaho then prohibited their use on public lands, according to the joint press release, and Oregon and Colorado have also issued temporary bans, Time reported. When the EPA opened a public comment period on reauthorizing the use of the traps at the end of 2018, “an overwhelming majority” of the 20,000 comments it received opposed them. Environmental groups credited this public outcry with the EPA’s decision in August to reverse its initial approval of the traps.

But the livestock industry supports the use of the traps and praised the EPA’s new authorization.

“We sincerely appreciate USDA and EPA working together to ensure livestock producers have access to effective predator control, while also increasing public awareness and transparency,” American Sheep Industry Association President Benny Cox said in the EPA announcement. “Livestock producers face heavy losses from predators, amounting to more than $232 million in death losses annually. We are particularly vulnerable during lambing and calving, where we see the worst predation.”

  1. Prohibiting the use of traps within 600 feet of a residence, except with the landowner’s permission
  2. Extending the buffer zone around public roads from 100 to 300 feet
  3. Placing two elevated warning signs within 15 feet of the traps.

But wildlife advocates say the restrictions do not go far enough to protect humans or animals.

“Tightening up use restrictions is turning a blind eye to the reality of M-44s,” Predator Defense Executive Director Brooks Fahy said in the press release. “In my 25 years working with M-44 victims, I’ve learned that Wildlife Services’ agents frequently do not follow the use restrictions. And warning signs will not prevent more dogs, wild animals, and potentially children from being killed. They cannot read them. M-44s are a safety menace and must be banned.”

Lawsuit Targets Trump Wildlife-killing Program in 10 California Counties



Wildlife Groups Seek Environmental Review of Program That Kills Thousands of Animals in California 

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Legal Defense Fund and Project Coyote today sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program over its outdated wildlife-killing plan for 10 counties in Northern California.

The lawsuit, filed in San Francisco federal court, seeks an updated environmental analysis of the program, which kills thousands of the state’s native animals. The program targets carnivores like coyotes and foxes that are important for balanced ecosystems.

“Wildlife Services’ cruel killing practices are ineffective, inhumane and totally out of touch with science,” said Collette Adkins, a Center for Biological Diversity attorney representing the conservation groups involved in the lawsuit. “Nonlethal methods of addressing wildlife conflicts are proven to work. We’re suing the agency to force a closer look at alternatives to its damaging mass-extermination program.”

Today’s lawsuit targets Wildlife Services’ Sacramento District program. The district includes Colusa, El Dorado, Lake, Marin, Napa, Placer, Sacramento, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties.

Wildlife Services is a multimillion-dollar federal program that uses painful leghold traps, strangulation snares, poisons, aerial gunning, killing pups in their dens and other inhumane practices to kill wild animals including wolves, coyotes, bears, cougars and birds. Most of the killing is done in response to requests from the agriculture industry.

In 2018 Wildlife Services reported killing nearly 1.5 million native animals nationwide. That year in California, the program reported killing 26,441 native animals, including 3,826 coyotes, 859 beavers, 170 foxes, 83 mountain lions and 105 black bears. The 5,675 birds killed in 2018 in California included ducks, egrets, hawks, owls and doves.

Pets and protected wildlife like gray wolves, San Joaquin kit foxes, California condors and eagles are also at risk of being killed accidentally due to the program’s indiscriminate methods.

“Wild animals in California are entitled to legal protection from cruel, indiscriminate killing methods that fail to meaningfully reduce conflicts between wild and domestic animals,” said Stephen Wells, executive director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund. “Wildlife Services must update its practices to reflect current science that supports non-lethal approaches to minimizing conflicts.”

“For far too long Wildlife Services has been running roughshod over our nation’s wildlife with almost no accountability and with very little transparency,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote. “It’s time for a full accounting of this agency’s impact on the environment and on target and non-target animals. Slaughtering thousands of wild animals at the behest of ranchers when there are more effective and humane methods of protecting livestock is irresponsible and reprehensible.”

The National Environmental Policy Act requires Wildlife Services to rigorously examine the environmental effects of killing wildlife and to consider alternatives, such as those that rely on proven nonlethal methods to avoid wildlife conflicts.

The Sacramento District’s existing environmental analysis is more than 20 years old. The complaint filed today says Wildlife Services must use recent information to analyze its impacts on the environment and California’s unique wild places.


In response to a 2017 lawsuit filed by wildlife advocacy groups, Wildlife Services agreed to implement numerous protections for wildlife in its North District, including a ban on traps and aerial gunning in designated wilderness areas.

That successful lawsuit covered Butte, Del Norte, Glenn, Humboldt, Lassen, Mendocino, Modoc, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity and Yuba counties.

Last year Siskiyou County agreed to reexamine its contract with Wildlife Services amid pressure from the animal-protection and conservation coalition, while Shasta County cancelled its contract with Wildlife Services. In 2017 a California court ruled in favor of the coalition, finding that Monterey County must conduct an environmental review before renewing its contract with Wildlife Services. In 2000 Marin County severed its contract with Wildlife Services after public outcry over the use of deadly poisons.

Read the complaint here.


PETA’s Secret Weapon In Fur Ban Fight: A Coyote Trap

The animal-rights group is showing lawmakers how brutal the traps are as the City Council considers a ban on fur sales.

By Noah Manskar, Patch Staff |  | 
NEW YORK — Hooded faces ringed with fur seem to cross every New York City block in the winter months as Canada Goose parkas have grown popular. But the high-end outerwear’s trim comes from coyotes, which often find themselves caught in small but powerful metal traps, animal rights activists say.

As the City Council considers banning fur sales, Dan Mathews, a senior vice president at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has been snapping pencils with one of those traps to show lawmakers just how brutal the fur trade is.

“Some of the shards of the pencil fly eight feet across the room and they imagine that being an animal’s bone — it puts a visceral face on a talking point,” said Mathews, who has met over the last several weeks with half a dozen Council members, including Speaker Corey Johnson.

The trap is a powerful visual aid in PETA’s quest to make New York the nation’s largest city to ban fur sales, according to Mathews, who is also demonstrating it for fashion designers and model agencies ahead of a May 15 hearing on the Council bill.

PETA is training its activists to show the traps off more widely and producing a video featuring the designer Stella McCartney to educate consumers about them, Mathews said.


“People have commented that it looks like something out of a medieval torture museum,” Mathews said. “And I think when people realize that there are thousands of these in use today capturing animals — not just coyotes but all sorts of wildlife and family dogs — it becomes a very simple issue.”

The so-called leghold trap Mathews demonstrated for Patch on Thursday snapped in the blink of an eye. Food is used to lure coyotes to the devices, which go for as little as $10 online. But they inadvertently capture other creatures such as dogs, cats, songbirds and owls — which trappers call “trash animals,” Mathews said.

New York State is home to about 10,000 trappers. Leghold traps are used throughout the state, including just north of the city in Westchester County, Mathews said.

State law bans leg-gripping traps with teeth and requires trappers in most parts of the state to visit their traps every 24 hours. But such rules are hard to enforce, as only the trappers generally know where the traps are set, Mathews said.

Mathews expects a tough fight over the proposed fur ban despite Johnson’s support for it. The bill would bar retailers from selling fur apparel and fine those who get caught.

Johnson has argued the measure would help protect animals. But longtime Manhattan furrier Jerry Sorbara, whose store is on West 32nd Street, says it could put him out of business.

“It’s gonna escalate to that you cannot even walk in the street and they come and see what kind of shoes you (are) wearing, and they will kill you if you wear something that is not right,” said Sorbara, 80, who opened his custom fur business in 1975. “I think it’s really insane what they’re doing.”

While Johnson’s bill would let merchants sell used fur items, Sorbara said only “a handful” of people sell used fur coats. The ban could also hurt parts of the fashion industry that make other components of fur garments such as buttons and linings, he said.

Sorbara said he uses furs from farm-raised minks, chinchillas and sables — not trapped animals. He’s even made a miniature mink coat for a customer’s dog.

“You mean to say … that we don’t love animals? Are you kidding me?” Sorbara said.

Morrissey Launches Protest Against Canada Goose Ahead of Canadian Tour

Morrissey Launches Protest Against Canada Goose Ahead of Canadian Tour

Morrissey is just days away from starting his Canadian tour, but he’s now taking aim at one of the country’s best known brands, Canada Goose, and urging Canadians to join his protest against the company.

The divisive Smiths singer has joined forces with PETA to call on the Canadian clothing brand to stop using fur and feathers in its products. In a newly posted open letter, Morrissey states that will be gathering fans’ signatures during the tour for a petition against Canada Goose. He then aims to deliver this to CEO Dani Reiss at the end of his Canadian tour.

“I’m writing to urge Canada Goose to act more like its namesake (e.g., smart, brave, and willing to fly off in a new direction) by making the bold ethical choice to remove coyote fur and down feathers from its parkas,” Morrissey begins in his letter.

“Canada Goose has almost singlehandedly revived the cruel trapping industry, in which animals can suffer for days and try to gnaw off their ensnared limbs before the trapper eventually returns to bludgeon them to death. No hood adornment is worth that. And geese are confined to cramped cages and trucked hundreds of miles to slaughter in all weather conditions before they’re hung upside down and their throats are slit—often while they’re still conscious — so that their feathers can be stuffed into (and poke out of) jackets.”

He adds: “I’d be the first to celebrate a cruelty-free Canada Goose coat by wearing one proudly. Until then, I’ll be collecting signatures during my Canadian tour calling for Canada Goose to stop killing animals for coats.”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Moz has taken aim at Canadian business practices. In fact, he hasn’t stepped foot on Canadian soil since launching protests against the country’s seal-clubbing policies more than a decade ago.

As previously reported, Morrissey will also be embarking on Canadian tour this weekend with a pair of concerts in Vancouver. You can see his entire Canadian tour schedule over here.

Morrissey’s new album California Son is due out on May 24 via his BMGimprint Etienne.

Injured, Blind Coyote Pulls Through Incredible Ordeal, Gives Her Rescuers Huge Surprise

A few weeks ago, The Animal Rescue Team rescued a coyote who is the definition of a survivor. She survived a 30-foot fall, dehydration, rodent poison, starvation and a gunshot to the head! In fact, when they found her she had stopped breathing and they had to perform CPR until they got her to the vet!

But that wasn’t the last of the surprises this tough coyote had in store for her rescuers. Six weeks after her rescue, the Animal Rescue Team was cleaning her large enclosure when they discovered puppies!

“Although she remains blind, she is the best mother we have ever witnessed,” they wrote.

The fact that the mother coyote pulled through her ordeal still amazes her rescuers.

“This is a first for us in 35 years of rescuing wildlife,” the group said. They believe that after she was shot, she escaped and ended up plummeting the 30 feet into a dried-out riverbed of the Santa Ynez watershed.

Someone notified the rescue group and that’s when they found her. Despite all the hardships she’s endured, the group said, “She is a sweet, kind, doting momma.”

They said that once her puppies are grown that they will be released far into the wild and away from human dangers.

Meanwhile, their heroic mom will be given to a state permitted wildlife facility. “We believe she deserves to remain alive.”

Considering her miraculous recovery, I would say she’s more than deserving!

Share this special rescue with your friends and family!

Read more at https://www.reshareworthy.com/blind-coyote-rescue-with-puppies/#dBHRA8Q1tCo3QYmF.99

Torrance awaits environmental review for stepped-up coyote management plan

A coyote trots across Yorba Regional Park in Anaheim Hills. (File photo by Bruce Chambers, Orange County Register/SCNG)



An environmental review is under way on plans to increase coyote trapping in the city of Torrance, according to an announcement issued Wednesday, Feb. 20.

The revisions to the city’s coyote management plan were approved in November amid what have been ongoing resident complaints about the loss of pets to the wild predators. The move also came after it was revealed that the city had trapped just one coyote in the two years leading up to the fall of 2018.

The city’s reporting data tracking sightings and coyote attacks on cats and dogs also had fallen behind.

The revisions to the plan would institute a five-month active trapping season from October to March each year. Trapping also would be expanded to geographical areas where dangerous coyote behavior is reported. Currently, the strategy is more pinpointed to individual locations that have been reported.

The new measures also call for hiring a part-time, civilian coyote management staff assistant and stepping up the city’s education and outreach programs.

The goal is to have the revised plan in place by fall.

Cities throughout the nation are increasingly dealing with coyote management strategies as the animals have made new dwelling places in urban areas where food is plentiful. Many cities rely heavily or even solely on wildlife education programs for residents and include no lethal management methods. More recently, as the problems have persisted, some cities have begun instituting targeted trapping and euthanasia in neighborhoods where aggressive coyote behavior is reported.

The issue is an emotionally heated one with animal rights groups pushing against lethal methods and residents who believe cities must do more to protect people and pets as a matter of public safety.

George Coniglio on Holley NY coyote-kill contest

Image result for Holley NY coyote-kill contest
“Today, I’m embarrassed to be a human being.
I’m amazed at the depths some of us can sink to, all in the name of good, clean fun for the whole family.
I’m perplexed at how some of us can rationalize our deviant behavior regardless of how much pain and suffering results from it.
And I’m disgusted that some of us will attempt to justify the invalidation of the sanctity of all life in order to satiate an appetite for blood drawn by their own hands.
What happens in Holley, New York later today isn’t about hunting. Nor is it about guns or Second Amendment rights or nuisance abatement or the industrial agriculture vs. living off the land debate or feeding the hungry.
What happens in Holley, New York later today is about the sad fact there exists in a certain segment of our society a mindset that derives a perverse pleasure from needlessly preying on the weak and defenseless. for no good reason other than it’s fun to kill them.
i can’t imagine seeing the world through their eyes.
What an ugly place it must be.
Where we see the miraculous beauty of all living things, they instead see unfeeling objects there for the plundering, whose life value can be minimized to the point where it’s worth little more than prize redemption in a killing contest.
Be mad.
Or be sad.
But be something.
If we’re indeed the superior species on this planet (as so many seem to think), isn’t it high time we act the part? If not for their good, at least for our own?”