Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Wildlife Services Killed 1.3 Million Native Animals in 2017, Including Coyotes, Bears, Wolves

Animals
Wildlife Services Killed 1.3 Million Native Animals in 2017, Including Coyotes, Bears, Wolves
Coyote at Seedskadee NWR. Tom Koerner / USFWS

The arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture known as Wildlife Services killed more than 1.3 million native animals during 2017, according to new data released by the agency last week.

The multimillion-dollar federal wildlife-killing program targets wolves, coyotes, cougars, birds and other wild animals for destruction—primarily to benefit the agriculture industry. Of the 2.3 million animals killed in total last year, more than 1.3 million were native wildlife species.


"The Department of Agriculture needs to get out of the wildlife-slaughter business," said Collette Adkins, a biologist and attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. "There's just no scientific basis for continuing to shoot, poison and strangle more than a million animals every year. Even pets and endangered species are being killed by mistake, as collateral damage."

According to the latest report, the federal program last year killed 357 gray wolves; 69,041 adult coyotes, plus an unknown number of coyote pups in 393 destroyed dens; 624,845 red-winged blackbirds; 552 black bears; 319 mountain lions; 1,001 bobcats; 675 river otters, including 587 killed "unintentionally"; 3,827 foxes, plus an unknown number of fox pups in 128 dens; and 23,646 beavers.

The program also killed 15,933 prairie dogs outright, as well as an unknown number killed in more than 38,452 burrows that were destroyed or fumigated. These figures almost certainly underestimate the actual number of animals killed, as program insiders have revealed that Wildlife Services kills many more animals than it reports.

According to the new data, the wildlife-killing program unintentionally killed nearly 3,000 animals last year, including wolves, badgers, bears, bobcats, foxes, muskrats, otters, porcupines, raccoons and turtles. Its killing of nontarget birds included chickadees, bluebirds, cardinals, ducks, eagles, grouse, hawks, herons, swans and owls. Dozens of domestic animals, including pets and livestock, were also killed. Such data reveals the indiscriminate nature of painful leghold traps, strangulation snares, poisons and other methods used by federal agents.

"The barbaric, outdated tactics Wildlife Services uses to destroy America's animals need to end," Adkins added. "Wolves, bears and other carnivores help balance the web of life where they live. Our government needs to end its pointless cycle of violence."

The wildlife-killing program contributed to the decline of gray wolves, Mexican wolves, black-footed ferrets, black-tailed prairie dogs and other imperiled species during the first half of the 1900s and continues to impede their recovery today.

The Trump administration has weakened fuel-efficiency requirements for the nation's cars and trucks. Drew Angerer / Getty Images

As the days tick down to next month's presidential election, debate rages over the U.S. government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic with critics of President Donald Trump calling for his ouster due to his failure to protect the American public.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Researchers have discovered a link between air pollution, food delivery and plastic waste. Sorapop / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have discovered a link between air pollution, food delivery and plastic waste.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Plain Naturals offers a wide variety of CBD products including oils, creams and gummies.

Plain Naturals is making waves in the CBD space with a new product line for retail customers looking for high potency CBD products at industry-low prices.

Read More Show Less
One report in spring 2020 found that 38% of students at four-year universities were food-insecure. Frederic J. Brown / AFP / Getty Images

By Matthew J. Landry and Heather Eicher-Miller

When university presidents were surveyed in spring of 2020 about what they felt were the most pressing concerns of COVID-19, college students going hungry didn't rank very high.

Read More Show Less
Coast Guard members work to clean an oil spill impacting Delaware beaches. U.S. Coast Guard District 5

Environmental officials and members of the U.S. Coast Guard are racing to clean up a mysterious oil spill that has spread to 11 miles of Delaware coastline.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch