Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

2 Million Animals Killed by Federal Wildlife Program in 2013

Animals

Wildlife Services, the highly secretive arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has released new data showing that the agency killed more than 2 million native animals during the last fiscal year.

This infamous photo of the severed heads of 11 mountain lions was taken by an outraged employee of the Arizona Game and Fish Department. These animals were among 24 lions killed by the federal agency Animal Damage Control (now called Wildlife Services) in the Galiuro mountains of Arizona, a wilderness area North of Willcox. All were killed on federal lands on the Coronado National Forest over a six-month period from December 1988-May 1989. Photo credit: Predator Defense

The new numbers reveal a 29 percent increase in the program's killing, up almost a half-million animals since fiscal year 2012, despite an increase in public awareness.

Wildlife Services target animals deemed as pests by powerful special interests groups from the agribusiness, hunting and livestock sectors, according to Center for Biological Diversity.

“Wildlife Services has long been out of step with the values of Americans, and the new figures make clear it has no interest in changing,” said Amy Atwood, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, which petitioned to reform the program last December. “These appalling new numbers show that Wildlife Services is simply thumbing its nose at the growing number of Americans demanding an end to business as usual at Wildlife Services.”

The extensive list of the 2013 killings include, amongst many others:

  • more than 320 gray wolves
  • 75,326 coyotes
  • 419 black bears
  • 866 bobcats
  • 528 river otters
  • 3,706 foxes
  • 12,186 black-tailed prairie dogs (as well as destroyed more than 30,000 dens)
  • 3 golden eagles

Operating at the tax payer's expense, the notoriously secretive Wildlife Services' killings often include non-targeted species, and insiders allege that the program actually kills many more animals than it reports.

Native animals killed by Wildlife Services, fiscal years 1996-2013

The covert killings—which includes aerial gunning, traps and exploding poison caps—has gone on for decades with little oversight and according the Center for Biological Diversity, the agency has killed more than 26 million native animals  since 1996.

“Rather than dialing back in the face of criticism, the program that has the nerve to call itself ‘Wildlife Services’ seems to be putting its foot on the pedal in its systematic slaughter of America’s wild animals,” said Atwood. “These numbers pull back the veil on a staggering killing campaign, bankrolled by taxpayers, that’s happening every day beyond the view of most Americans.”

In December 2013, along with Project Coyote, Animal Welfare Institute and Animal Legal Defense Fund, the Center for Biological Diversity launched a petition calling for new rules and an immediate reform of the agency. Also in December, Predator Defense came out with a documentary featuring former federal agents-turned-whistle-blowers who exposed the Wildlife Services for being an unaccountable, out of control, wildlife killing machine that acts at the bidding of corporate agriculture and the hunting lobby. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack responded to the groups in January, stating that he would look into the issues they raised.

--------

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

U.S. Wildlife Services Kills 1.5 Million Animals Each Year With No Accountability

Wildlife Services Under Fire for Release of Annual Kill Numbers

WildEarth Guardians Sues the Nation's Biggest Wildlife Killer

--------

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Anderson Community Group. Left to right, Caroline Laur, Anita Foust, the Rev. Bryon Shoffner, and Bill Compton, came together to fight for environmental justice in their community. Anderson Community Group

By Isabella Garcia

On Thanksgiving Day 2019, right after Caroline Laur had finished giving thanks for her home, a neighbor at church told her that a company had submitted permit requests to build an asphalt plant in their community. The plans indicated the plant would be 250 feet from Laur's backdoor.

Read More Show Less
Berber woman cooks traditional flatbread using an earthen oven in her mud-walled village home located near the historic village of Ait Benhaddou in Morocco, Africa on Jan. 4, 2016. Creative Touch Imaging Ltd. /NurPhoto / Getty Images

By Danielle Nierenberg and Jason Flatt

The world's Indigenous Peoples face severe and disproportionate rates of food insecurity. While Indigenous Peoples comprise 5 percent of the world's population, they account for 15 percent of the world's poor, according to the World Health Organization.

Read More Show Less
Danny Choo / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Olivia Sullivan

One of the many unfortunate outcomes of the coronavirus pandemic has been the quick and obvious increase in single-use plastic products. After COVID-19 arrived in the United States, many grocery stores prohibited customers from using reusable bags, coffee shops banned reusable mugs, and takeout food with plastic forks and knives became the new normal.

Read More Show Less
A mostly empty 110 freeway toward downtown Los Angeles, California on April 28, 2020. Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The shelter in place orders that brought clean skies to some of the world's most polluted cities and saw greenhouse gas emissions plummet were just a temporary relief that provided an illusory benefit to the long-term consequences of the climate crisis. According to new research, the COVID-19 lockdowns will have a "neglible" impact on global warming, as Newshub in New Zealand reported.

Read More Show Less
Centrosaurus apertus was a plant-eating, single-horned dinosaur that lived 76 to 77 million years ago. Sergey Krasovskiy / Stocktrek Images / Getty Images

Scientists have discovered and diagnosed the first instance of malignant cancer in a dinosaur, and they did so by using modern medical techniques. They published their results earlier this week in The Lancet Oncology.

Read More Show Less
Parks keep people happy in times of global crisis, economic shutdown and public anger. NPS

By Joe Roman and Taylor Ricketts

The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States is the deepest and longest period of malaise in a dozen years. Our colleagues at the University of Vermont have concluded this by analyzing posts on Twitter. The Vermont Complex Systems Center studies 50 million tweets a day, scoring the "happiness" of people's words to monitor the national mood. That mood today is at its lowest point since 2008 when they started this project.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The ubiquity of guns and bullets poses environmental risks. Contaminants in bullets include lead, copper, zinc, antimony and mercury. gorancakmazovic / iStock / Getty Images Plus

New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced Thursday that she will attempt to dismantle the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguing that years of corruption and mismanagement warrant the dissolution of the activist organization, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less