Cambridge removes coyote traps after photos spark outcry

NEWS 11:52 AM by Jeff Outhit Waterloo Region Record

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George Aitken of Cambridge took this photo of a coyote that was caught in trap at Churchill Park in Cambridge on Wednesday. – George Aitken via Coyote Watch Canada

CAMBRIDGE — Cambridge has abandoned its plan to trap a family of coyotes in Churchill Park, ordering all three leg traps removed after photos of a trapped coyote sparked public outcry.

“I feel very relieved,” said George Aitkin, 68, who took the photographs Wednesday and posted them online.

Friday morning, the city ordered all three coyote traps removed. For now it plans to leave the coyotes and add more warning signs. It will urge people to be cautious, to not leave food for the wildlife, and to leash their dogs as required by law.

“Having the concerns of the residents and some of the animal advocacy groups, council has directed staff to simply take a step back and reassess,” said Hardy Bromberg, a deputy city manager.

RELATED CONTENT

* <https://www.therecord.com/news-story/8739119-adult-male-coyote-caught-in-churchill-park/>

<https://www.therecord.com/news-story/8739119-adult-male-coyote-caught-in-churchill-park/>

Adult male coyote caught in Churchill Park <https://www.therecord.com/news-story/8739119-adult-male-coyote-caught-in-churchill-park/>

Aitkin was walking in the park Wednesday when he was horrified to discover a coyote in distress, caught in a leg trap, hurling itself around, panting and chewing at its paw to free itself.

He said he was so distressed by the sight that he would have freed it himself if he thought he could do it safely.

The only coyote the city trapped, a male, was relocated within a kilometre on Wednesday, the city said. It may now make its way back to where it was caught, Bromberg said.

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Coyotes get a bad rap

expert tells Parry Sound Nature Club Coyote Watch Canada hopes to change perception through education COMMUNITY Apr 02, 2018 by Cathy Novak Parry Sound North Star

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Coyotes get a bad reputation according to an official from Coyote Watch Canada. April 2, 2018. – Coyote Watch Canada

PARRY SOUND — The Parry Sound Nature Club was privileged to host a presentation by Lesley Sampson of Coyote Watch Canada at their meeting on March 21 at the West Parry Sound District Museum.

The meeting room was filled to capacity — seems coyotes and the chance to learn about coexisting peacefully with them is something many are interested in. Sampson opened her presentation with a beautiful photo of a coyote and the quote, “How you see me is but a mere reflection of you.” Coyotes have caught a bad rap in the past, and one of Lesley’s missions is changing perceptions through educating, engaging and empowering the public to foster respect, acceptance, and compassionate coexistence with these incredible animals.

The Eastern Coyote is a member of the canid family which includes foxes, wolves and dogs. Genetic testing has shown that there is a great degree of mixing of coyote, wolf, and dog DNA, but genetics and DNA really don’t have much bearing on the ability to coexist and minimize conflict. There are many myths about coyotes that Sampson enthusiastically and rationally dispelled. Coyotes do not abandon their pups — they are devoted and diligent parents. Coyotes do not lure dogs away — coyotes are curious and may come close to investigate, but when a dog chases them, they run away … and the dog often follows! Coyotes seen during the day are not ill — coyotes can be active all day, and the young, especially, are very curious and mobile. There is really no difference between coyotes and coywolves — it’s a matter of infinite degrees of mixing of DNA. It’s a myth that foxes and coyotes do not share the land — this is false as they often live in the same territory. The yipping sounds that they make do not mean that they have killed something — coyotes have many reasons to vocalize and a wide repertoire of sounds. Coyotes do not stalk people — it’s usually just a matter of following you (especially if you have a dog with you) out of curiosity, or because they have been fed by others and are hoping for another meal (they learn very quickly, especially when it comes to food). Many folks wonder if coyotes are dangerous. According to statistics, the top three animals for causing death to humans (in order) are farm animals, bees/wasps/hornets, and domestic dogs — coyotes did not make the list.

Coyote Watch Canada has a four-cornerstone approach. Investigation — a critical step in determining the facts of the situation to decide on the correct response. Education — get the right information out to the public. Enforcement — promote enforcement of local bylaws that assist in reducing negative interactions between humans and canids (for example: leash laws, property maintenance and garbage disposal, etc.). Prevention — using deterrents and aversion conditioning to reduce interactions and redirect coyote behaviour.

In the Niagara area where Sampson works with Coyote Watch Canada, sightings are recorded and mapped to determine and monitor coyote “hot spots.” Response teams can then be dispatched to investigate, assist with aversion conditioning, and educate the public on how to coexist with coyotes and reduce problem interactions. The sightings maps can give a snapshot of coyote ecology and seasonal changes, and connect data with ‘citizen science’.

Sampson presented some brief facts about the general ecology of coyotes. The more we know about our neighbours (in this case, anyway), the easier it is to get along! Coyotes mate for life and breed in late January/early February. They share pup-rearing duties. The male will deliver food to the female while she is nursing and can’t leave the den, and once the pups are weaned by six weeks of age, both adults will feed the pups. It is not uncommon for older siblings, aunts and uncles to help with rearing pups. Coyotes communicate by vocalizing and make a wide range of sounds. Coyotes can breed in their first year, and have a gestation period of 62-63 days. They are “fossorial” — they den underground, and often have multiple den sites. They are diurnal, generally most active at dusk and dawn, depending on habitat. In a stable territory, the alpha pair may have litters ranging from two to 10 pups, with the average around six. This sounds like a lot, but 70 per cent of pups die in their first year. Coyote sightings often increase in May and June — the alpha pair will be quite active, as both are out hunting to provide food for the growing pups and themselves, and the pups themselves are out of the den and learning to hunt.

Coyotes are a keystone species for healthy ecosystems, so coexistence is a much better approach than eradication. They are adaptive, intelligent and resourceful. They have a varied diet but mostly eat rodents (up to 70 per cent of their diet) and are excellent mousers, as well as being “nature’s cleanup crew” by eating roadkill and other carrion.

Sampson talked about the “High 5 for Safety” when encountering a coyote (or other animal). Stop — pick up small children or dogs; stand still — take a moment to assess and think about what’s happening, don’t react rashly; shout and wave your arms — scare it away; slowly back away — maintain eye contact and don’t run; share the experience — report the sighting to Coyote Watch or other authority.

To minimize negative interactions between coyotes and people, especially people with dogs, there are important points to remember. Always keep your dog on a leash in areas known to be inhabited by coyotes or other wild canids. In 92 per cent of dog/coyote interactions, the dog was off-leash. Dogs should never be allowed to chase any kind of wildlife; besides the harassment to the animal, your dog may lead the animal right back to you! Bag up and carry out all dog poop. Be aware of the season and what coyotes might be up to at that time of year — denning, mating, raising pups. Report intentional feeding and attractants such as garbage, along with any sightings to Coyote Watch or your municipality.

Sampson provided a thorough, fascinating and engaging education on coyotes to the Parry Sound Nature Club. Her genuine concern and passion for these animals coupled with her first-hand experience and knowledge make her the ultimate advocate for coyotes. Those in attendance at her presentation came away with a better understanding of how to coexist with these wonderful animals. For more information, check out the Coyote Watch Canada website at http://www.coyotewatchcanada.com.

The Parry Sound Nature Club meets on the third Wednesday of each month. Please join us for the next meeting at 7 p.m. on April 18 at the West Parry Sound District Museum. Guest speaker will be Alanna Smoleraz about her volunteer experience in the Seychelles, Africa, with Wildlife ACT. During her time there she got to see and work with various birds, fish, terrapins, giant Aldabra tortoises and, of course, sea turtles. She will share what she learned, and what she was able to contribute to the various wildlife and conservation projects there.

https://www.parrysound.com/community-story/8367729-coyotes-get-a-bad-rap-expert-tells-parry-sound-nature-club/#.WsP59DniGu4.twitter

Endangered Science

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As Americans enjoy this long weekend of remembrance, many will find their way to a national or state park hoping to see wildlife in their natural habitats. Last year over 300 million people visited the national parks alone, the highest number on record. Tourists photographed bears and bobcats, bison and moose, foxes, wolves, prairie dogs, coyotes, eagles, owls, and more.

What most visitors didn’t see is the work that goes on behind the scenes to make sure that our wildlife is protected, and species on the brink of extinction don’t disappear. Project Coyote is just one of many organizations committed to protecting our public lands and public trust, ensuring that the wild animals visitors hope to see receive the protections they deserve, as outlined in the Endangered Species Act (ESA) decades ago.

One of the fundamental requirements of the ESA is that decisions about protecting wildlife are based on the best available science. This sounds obvious, but in order for science to be credible, it must be independent, which means free of political or commercial interests.

Unfortunately, respect for independent science within wildlife management ranks is as endangered as the animals we try to protect. One of many examples includes the Department of Interior’s alarming decision in 2014 to declare gray wolves recovered nationwide because the Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) claimed the wolves occupied most of the remaining suitable habitat in the U.S. In truth, nearly two-dozen states in the historic range were, and still are, vacant. The FWS declared them unsuitable on grounds that human tolerance for wolves was low there and that wolves would be poached by citizens or killed by government agents seeking to protect livestock interests. This is the same year we witnessed wolves returning to their native home of California where they had not been seen since 1924. If FWS policy had been implemented, California might not have seen this important and historic return.

The fact is that none of the available science supported the FWS claim, and what evidence there was actually showed that tolerance for wolves was even higher outside their current range.

According to the ESA, our federal wildlife managers are supposed to address threats that may push a species to extinction, not circumvent the threat by redefining “suitable habitat.” It is required to combat threats and recover listed species, as the ESA states, “across all or a significant portion of range.” (ESA 16 USC § 1531)

Instead, FWS pointed to a non-peer-reviewed analysis suggesting the northeastern U.S. was not gray wolf habitat because a new species had lived there. The criticism that followed eventually led to an independent scientific review process that “unanimously decided that the FWS’s earlier decisions were not well supported by the available science.”

Project Coyote Science Advisory Board members Adrian TrevesJeremy BruskotterJohn Vucetich, and Michael Nelson co-authored this study refuting these assumptions, and there are more examples of FWS ignoring science, including the department’s recent delisting decisions about wolverines and grizzlies that not only omitted independent scientific review, but rejected the recommendations of agency biologists.

If we look at the history of decisions about carnivores under the ESA, we see similar disregard for the best available science. Since 2005, the FWS has lost nearly a dozen federal court cases trying to remove protections for wolves, grizzly bears, and wolverines. In each case, the courts sided with plaintiff’s claims that the Department of the Interior misinterpreted the ESA or did not follow the ESA mandate to base its decisions on the best scientific data available.

Which is why the recent Endangered Species Day was the perfect occasion for me to join with members of Project Coyote’s Science Advisory Board in collaboration with the Union of Concerned Scientists, to compel Interior Secretary Jewell and Commerce Secretary Pritzker to enforce the ESA and serve the public trust by using the best available science. We submitted a petition with the signatures of nearly 1,000 US scientists and scholars, and our request was simple: respect the law and put the independent scientific community back in charge of determining the best available science.

All Americans can be proud of the cooperative vision that produced the Endangered Species Act in 1973, and protects the abundance of wildlife and beautiful landscapes that our federal agencies are charged to steward. Let’s not be the generation that allowed standards to slip so far that, for some species, it’s beyond recovery. When independent science is threatened, so are our keystone species, and the healthy ecosystems we all depend on to survive and thrive.

Learn more about the ways scientists are working for wildlife by visiting Project Coyote’sScience and Stewardship Program and Notes from the Field blog.

New law allows hunting hogs from hot air balloons, but few balloonists will offer it

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by Shannon Najmabadi The Texas Tribune

Though a new Texas law allows hunters to shoot feral hogs and coyotes from hot air balloons, it’s not easy to find a balloonist offering the activity.

“I have never had a phone call from anybody asking to do this,” said Pat Cannon of Lewisville, spokesman for the Balloon Federation of America. “I think that people have not stopped laughing yet.”

The law went into effect Sept. 1, but state permitters, insurers and balloonists say they haven’t heard of anyone planning to hunt hogs from hot air balloons. They point to factors like visibility and difficulty steering that make the activity hard.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has not granted any of the permits needed for hot air balloon hunting, said Steve Lightfoot, a department spokesman. Rob Schantz of Jacksonville, Florida, who heads one of the country’s few balloon insurance agencies, said no balloonists had asked if the activity could be covered under their policies. His agency will not offer coverage for aerial hunting.

Among other logistical challenges, the balloon’s burners make a “horrendous roaring noise,” Schantz said. “It would scare anything away, and if they had a chance to take a shot, you could shoot somebody’s dog or shoot a person.”

The new law, authored by state Rep. Mark Keough, R-The Woodlands, is just one of Texas legislators’ attempts to curb the feral hog population in the state. Called a menace, the estimated 2 million feral hogs in Texas are responsible for about $400 million in damage each year, and their population would grow rapidly if left unchecked. A “pork-chopper” bill – allowing hogs to be hunted from helicopters – has been on the books since 2011, and state officials haveconsidered poisoning the animals with a lethal pesticide.

Lightfoot said department rules that govern hunting from a helicopter are similar to those for gunning from a hot air balloon. Among them is a requirement that there be an agreement with a landowner permitting aerial hunting on his or her property. Lightfoot said Tuesday the department had received one phone call inquiring about the needed permits, but that none had been issued.

Keough said in a statement the new law “will open a whole new industry towards eliminating the growing population of feral hogs in the State of Texas.” After the measure passed both legislative chambers in May, state Rep. John Cyrier, R-Lockhart, wrote a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott saying it could lead to “future catastrophes” without increased oversight of commercial ballooning.

Judith McGeary, executive director of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, said feral hogs pose a very significant problem to farmers and rural communities, as they destroy land and can carry diseases.

“There hasn’t been a good way to control them,” she said. Hunting from a hot air balloon isn’t expected to be a magic bullet, she said, but it seems like a “reasonable additional tool to add.”

But balloonists and pilots point to numerous challenges that make hunting from a hot air balloon difficult, if not impossible.

First, hot air balloons only fly under certain conditions. Wind, clouds, thermals and time of day are taken into account by the balloonist, and aren’t always conducive to hunting. For example, because balloons float on the wind, they couldn’t circle a pack of feral hogs while the hunters tried to shoot them.

“Let’s just assume you have a herd of feral hogs running one way and … they turn left. The balloon can’t turn left,” said Schantz, the insurance underwriter. “The balloon just keeps going and the feral hogs are off on their merry way the other way.”

For similar reasons, balloons would likely be unable to stop to retrieve the carcasses of shot hogs, said Joe Reynolds, a private pilot in Austin. Because the animals can weigh hundreds of pounds, it would also be difficult to hoist them into the balloon’s basket, and they might exceed the balloon’s load limit, said Reynolds.

Ideally, Cannon said, hot air balloon hunting would take place over land that has a large feral hog population, is owned by one person, and is in a fairly rural area – as balloons must fly at higher altitudes over houses and populated zones. A GPS tracker could help balloonists navigate boundaries that demarcate one property from the next, and make notes of where shot feral hogs fall. The landowner or someone else on the ground could pick up the carcasses.

Still, spotting those property limits from the air can be difficult, Cannon said. If the balloon is accidentally flown over a neighbor’s property, and “somebody points a gun down and shoots and discharges a weapon over that guy’s land,” Cannon said, “he could be prosecuted for that.” Dogs, donkeys or other animals could be mistaken for feral hogs and coyotes from the vantage point of a balloon.

Reynolds, the private pilot, said he’s fielded calls about the activity. But it often becomes immediately apparent “that the reality of it is not going to work.”

“I can’t speak for every balloon pilot in the world,” he added, “but nobody that I’ve talked to is going to try to take any of this on.”

Disclosure: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune. A complete list of Tribune donors and sponsors can be viewed here.

The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.

A few worthy causes for Giving Tuesday

Project Coyote
Giving Tuesday is traditionally a fundraising day for nonprofits across the globe. We depend upon you—our supporters—to help us stop the abuse and mismanagement of North America’s maligned, misunderstood, and persecuted wild carnivores. As a small but growing national organization, we need and appreciate every contribution you make. To help us continue with our mission, one of our Supporters has offered a generous dollar-for-dollar match for all contributions—up to $10,000—from now until December 31! Maximize your gift now by making a secure online donation that will double your impact for wildlife.

Many of our supporters ask, “What more can I do to stop the cruelty and foster compassionate coexistence?” On this Giving Tuesday, there are additional ways to help the wild animals who share our communities and enhance our lives. You can  write letters to the editors of your local newspapers, respond to wildlife-related topics in community forums, post on social media, and educate your friends and neighbors about coexistence whenever the opportunity arises. Click here for details about acting on behalf of our wild neighbors this holiday season.

This November 28, please take steps to make Giving Tuesday a true day of generosity while living cooperatively, compassionately, and respectfully with our wild neighbors.

Thank you for giving.

Camilla H. Fox
Founder & Executive Director


About Project Coyote

Project Coyote is a national non-profit organization based in Northern California whose mission is to promote compassionate conservation and coexistence between people and wildlife through education, science and advocacy. Our representatives, advisory board members and supporters include scientists, educators, ranchers and citizen leaders who work together to change laws and policies to protect native carnivores from abuse and mismanagement, advocating coexistence instead of killing. We seek to change negative attitudes toward coyotes, wolves and other misunderstood predators by replacing ignorance and fear with understanding, respect and appreciation. Learn more about our programs here and read about our accomplishments for wildlife here and here


Project Coyote is a fiscally sponsored project of Earth Island Institute which has received a Four Star rating from Charity Navigator.

Last year, we began an exciting new tradition that started right here.

Other people call it Giving Tuesday. But we call it Living Tuesday: For the Animals!

This year, we’re making it even bigger by announcing our $50,000 matching gift challenge. A generous supporter has stepped up to match all gifts given through the end of the year, dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000. Today, we are challenging our supporters to donate $15,000 toward the $50,000 goal.

Help us reach our $15,000 goal by donating $35, $50, $75 or more now to turn Giving Tuesday into LIVING Tuesday for animals in need before the midnight deadline.

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Donate Now

Your doubled gift will mean twice the food, twice the care, twice the rescues — and twice the impact. Please help us reach our goal of $15,000 before Living Tuesday ends at 11:59 pm tonight.

Remember, Living Tuesday only comes once a year. Don’t miss this chance to have your gift matched and make twice the impact for animals in need!

Many thanks,

Holly Hazard
President
The Fund for Animals


Sea Shepherd is an entirely donor funded organization. Our ability to defend, conserve and protect the world’s oceans is dependent on the generous contributions of people like you.  Today is Giving Tuesday, and we hope that on this day, you become part of the integral team that gives generously to our direct-action ocean conservation.

Here are some of the many ways your generosity can help us:

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Campaigns

Our fleet of ships are busier than ever, patrolling the waters around the world. We are combating IUU fishing issues in West Africa and East Timor, defending turtles from the Mediterranean Sea to Central America and protecting marine reserves in Italy, Mexico and the Galapagos Islands. We have conducted undercover operations that targeted the Faroe Islands pilot whale slaughter and the dolphin captivity industry.

We have also begun documenting and monitoring the effects of climate change and the disappearing ice floes in Canada, which is leading to the extinction of Canadian seals. Additionally, we just launched Operation Milagro IV, our fourth consecutive campaign in the Sea of Cortez, aimed at the protection of the endangered vaquita porpoise.

SAVING ANIMAL LIVES, PREVENTING VIOLENCE & BUILDING A COMPASSIONATE FUTURE IN ISRAEL
CHAI’s Expanding the Circle of Compassion humane education program for Arab schools in Israel is transforming the way Arab youth and adults view and treat animals. Educators and a team of independent evaluators credit the program with dramatically reducing or ending completely the high level of cruelty to animals as well as violence between students in communities where it is taught. It also identifies youth at risk of future violence.
Violence toward animals and toward humans are linked. Where there is one form of abuse, there are others. Child psychologists tell us empathy is the most important value to instill in youth because it inoculates them against future violence.
Help us instill character values of respect, responsibility and empathy in Arab youth in Israel and equip them with the critical thinking skills to build a more compassionate world tomorrow. There is a long waiting list of schools eager to join our program.
We have reached thousands. Help us reach more by donating generously on this #GivingTuesday.

Lawsuit aims to end commercial fur trapping in California

Dear Jim,

That was the headline of the Los Angeles Times article (“Lawsuit aims to end commercial fur trapping in California”) that featured our joint lawsuit with the Center for Biological Diversity last week when we sued the California Fish and Game Commission and the Department of Wildlife for improperly managing and illegally subsidizing the state’s commercial trapping program. Our suit argues that California law requires that the state’s costs of managing a commercial trapping program must be fully recovered through trapping license fees. As stated in the complaint and supporting exhibits, current license fees cover a small fraction of the trapping program costs; taxpayers are left to foot the bill for the shortfall. Yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article adds, “fees would have to be increased at least 10-fold to comply with the state law [and] such a fee boost wold effectively end the practice of trapping animals.”

The fee recovery mandate became effective in 2013, and the initial petition to force the agencies to comply with the mandate was filed almost two years ago, in December 2015. This was followed by months of effort by Project Coyote, CBD and allies to compel compliance. Because the Commission and the Department failed to act, we were forced to sue.

If successful, this lawsuit could set a nationwide precedent and presage the end of commercial trapping in California, as few trappers could likely afford the adjusted licensing fees. As I stated in the Los Angeles Times article regarding the lawsuit, “We hope the filing of this lawsuit will be remembered as the moment California said goodbye to the handful of people who still kill mammals so that their pelts can be auctioned off in foreign markets and then made into slippers and fur-trimmed coats.”

Many thanks to all who signed our Change.org Trapping Petitionwhich was yet another effort to compel the agencies to act in accordance with the law. We presented your signatures to the Commission and made our case bringing youth and educators with us through our Keeping It Wild Program to speak for California’s bobcats, coyotes, and foxes. Although that effort wasn’t successful in and of itself, it made a decisive statement that California’s citizens no longer support cruel and inhumane trapping in our state, and compelled us to proceed with the lawsuit.

Urge City of Maumelle, Arkansas, to Stop Coyote Massacre!

The city of Maumelle, Arkansas, has reportedly decided to trap and kill coyotes with the misguided intent to control species numbers. A contractor hired by the city has reportedly set 10 steel-jaw and snare traps throughout the city, and victims will be killed. But lethal initiatives are 100 percent ineffective, as survivors simply breed in order to replace lost pack members while more coyotes move in from outlying areas for the available resources. And amazingly, news sources indicate that city officials are touting these traps as “humane”! However, animals caught in these traps (including the padded or rubber-coated variety) sustain horrific injuries in their frantic attempts to escape—even chewing or twisting off their own limbs. Killing also tears wild families apart, leaving orphaned young to starve, and traps endanger companion animals as well as protected wildlife. PETA has apprised Maumelle officials of the cruelty and futility of this plan and provided details regarding humane coyote control, but now it’s your turn.

Please contact the Maumelle mayor and city council and politely urge them to reverse this decision. Then forward this alert to everyone you know.

Take Action Now!

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Court Rules Monterey County Federal Animal-killing Contract Violates Law

Decision Likely Halts Program That Kills Coyotes,
Bobcats, Mountain Lions
 

Contacts:

Camilla Fox, Project Coyote, (415) 690-0338, cfox@projectcoyote.org
Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821,cadkins@biologicaldiversity.org
Amey Owen, Animal Welfare Institute, (202) 446-2128, amey@awionline.org
Natalia Lima, Animal Legal Defense Fund, (201) 679-7088, nlima@aldf.org
Kimiko Martinez, Natural Resources Defense Council, (310) 434-2344, kmartinez@nrdc.org

SALINAS, Calif.— The California Superior Court has ruled that Monterey County’s contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program to kill predators and other native wildlife violates state law. The decision responds to a lawsuit filed by animal protection and conservation organizations.

The court concluded that Monterey County violated the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to analyze the environmental impacts before renewing the controversial program, which has shot, trapped and snared thousands of animals in the county in recent years.

“This is a decisive victory for California’s wildlife and for science as it sends a clear message to USDA Wildlife Services and to entities contracting with them that they must look at the impacts of killing thousands of animals to both target and non-target animals as well as to the environment,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote.

The court’s ruling finds that Monterey County’s contract renewal with Wildlife Services violates CEQA because the county wrongfully claimed an exemption from the Act. The court found “no evidence” to support the county’s claim that its contract for predator control could not result in “significant environmental change,” so the county must now analyze the environmental impacts of the program.

“This decision is a major victory for Monterey County’s coyotes, foxes and other wildlife,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the Center for Biological Diversity. “All the latest science shows predator control is expensive, ineffective and inhumane. We hope the court’s decision spurs the county to realize that business-as-usual wildlife killing is no longer acceptable.”

Monterey County’s previous contract authorized Wildlife Services to kill hundreds of coyotes, as well as bobcats, mountain lions and other animals every year without fully assessing the ecological damage or considering alternatives. For example, from June 2014 to June 2015, Wildlife Services killed 105 coyotes, three mountain lions and two bobcats in the county. Over the past six years, Wildlife Services has killed more than 3,500 animals in Monterey County using traps, snares and firearms.

“It is appalling that Wildlife Services, a little known federal program, uses taxpayer dollars to slaughter millions of wild animals annually,” explained Tara Zuardo, a wildlife attorney with the Animal Welfare Institute. “We applaud the court in this case for calling out Monterey County for violating state law and recognizing the significant environmental impact of Wildlife Service’s unnecessary and inhumane slaughter of wildlife in the county.”

“We are pleased with the court’s decision and willingness to enforce this important environmental statute,” said Katherine Henderson, the lead attorney representing the conservation organizations.

“Wildlife Services should be under close scrutiny for its track record of indiscriminate killing and subjecting countless animals to painful deaths,” says Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Stephen Wells. “The individual coyotes, foxes, bobcats and others killed annually by Wildlife Services are integral components of the environment, and the government cannot recklessly kill these species without carefully assessing the potential ecological consequences of their deaths.”

A Monterey County resident joined with Animal Legal Defense Fund, theAnimal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Natural Resources Defense CouncilProject Coyote and the Mountain Lion Foundation to file the lawsuit that led to this victory. The conservationists were represented by Katherine Henderson, Christoher Mays and Mary Procaccio-Flowers of the law firm Wilson Sonsoni Goodrich & Rosati.

Background

Last year, Wildlife Services reported that it killed 1.6 million native animals nationwide, including 3,893 coyotes, 142 foxes, 83 black bears, 18 bobcats and thousands of other creatures in California. Nontarget animals — including family dogs and protected wildlife like wolves, Pacific fisher, and eagles — are also at risk from Wildlife Services’ indiscriminate methods.

Peer-reviewed research shows that such reckless slaughter of animals—particularly predators—results in broad ecological destruction and loss of biodiversity. The program’s controversial and indiscriminate killing methods have come under increased scrutiny from scientists, the public, and government officials.

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The Animal Legal Defense Fund was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, the Animal Legal Defense Fund files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org.

The Animal Welfare Institute is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere—in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. For more information, visit awionline.org.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places: biologicaldiversity.org.

Project Coyote, a national nonprofit organization headquartered in Northern California, is a North American coalition of wildlife educators, scientists, ranchers, and community leaders promoting coexistence between people and wildlife, and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy. For more information, visit ProjectCoyote.org.

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.

For 30 years, the Mountain Lion Foundation has worked with member volunteers and activists to further wildlife policies that seek to protect mountain lions, people and domestic animals without resorting to lethal measures. For more information, visitmountainlion.org.

M44 CYANIDE, JUST HOW DANGEROUS IS IT?

http://www.abcfoxmontana.com/story/34977973/m44-cyanide-just-how-dangerous-is-it

Posted: Mar 22, 2017 8:14 PM PDTUpdated: Mar 22, 2017 8:14 PM PDT

M44 cyanide, just how dangerous is it?
BOZEMAN –It’s a tool often used by Montana ranchers to kill livestock predators, but now, an Oregon congressman wants to ban the use of cyanide traps nationwide.

The M44 cyanide trap has been used by the United States government to control pests since the 1930’s. Montana is one of the few states in the country where ranchers, after being certified, can plant their own devices.

But many are questioning the safety and efficacy of the device. The incident in Idaho is not the first time an M44 has injured or killed the wrong target.

According to the USDA, Wildlife Services is authorized to use M44 cyanide capsules to control coyotes, Wild dogs, and red, gray and arctic foxes which are: suspected of preying upon livestock, poultry, or federally designated threatened and endangered species.

However, Brooks Fahy Executive Director of Predator Defense says thousands of animals die from this cyanide poison every year and just in the past week three dogs have died.

Fahy says, “The vast majority of the animals that they are killing like 99.9 percent of the animals they kill have never prayed on livestock.”

The USDA released a statement about the incident that happened a week ago with the boy and dog in Idaho saying, “We take this possible exposure to sodium cyanide seriously and are conducting a thorough review of this incident.  Wildlife services have removed m-44s in that immediate area, and will work to review our operating procedures to determine whether improvements can be made to reduce the likelihood of similar occurrences happening in the future.”

Fahy says there are other options trappers can use other than “cyanide bombs.”

“Practice co-existence in other words proper husbandry practices when your sheep are lambing, guard dogs, fencing, and flattery.”

Jarrod Moss, a vet at Creekside Veterinary Hospital here in Bozeman says if your animal comes in contact with cyanide get them to vet as soon as possible and also make sure you protect yourself in the process.

Brooks says, “Humans are at severe risk of absorbing some of that cyanide through their skin so we need to be very careful when handling your animal, I would recommend wrapping your dog or cat in a towel or shirt, limiting your exposure.”

Fahy recalls an incident involving a man in Utah when he came in contact with the poison.

“Who had an M44 go off in his face and hit him in his chest and he got some of it in his face. He’s been disabled ever since, never able to go back to work.”

USDA says that all applicators are required to carry an antidote kit when applying or inspecting M44s and no human fatalities have been associated with wild services use of M44s.

The bill being put forth by Congressman Defazio is set to for a vote next week. We’ll continue to follow that bill as it progresses.

GoFundMe Page Set Up for Man Shot in Sweden Hunting Accident

By TWC News Web Staff
Thursday, February 23, 2017 at 05:55 PM EST

SWEDEN, N.Y. — A fundraising page has been set up for the man seriously injured in a hunting accident in the Town of Sweden earlier this week.

Monroe County Sheriff’s investigators say Brett Blackburn was hunting coyotes with his son in a field off South Lake Road in Sweden when he accidentally shot Robert Williams.

Blackburn told investigators it was dark and he mistook Williams for an animal, firing his rifle once and hitting the Byron man in the abdomen.

Williams remains in guarded condition at Strong Memorial Hospital.

The GoFundMe page, started by Williams’ sister, says most people can recognize him by his “big heart, infectious laugh and relaxed demeanor.”

She says she wants to help her brother, who has a wife and 2-month-old baby, with the now-mounting hospital expenses.

Brett Blackburn was arrested and arraigned on second-degree assault charges for the shooting. He has since posted bail.