Conservationists Sue US Agencies Over Continuing Predator Management Program
Conservation groups WildEarth Guardians and the Western Waterss Project filed a lawsuit against three federal agencies Monday after the agencies moved to re-implement a predator management program.
This program allows the United States Department of Agriculture to “destroy, suppress, or control” native species such as coyotes, wolves, and mountain lions in the federally protected wilderness of Nevada. This is done to reduce the risk that these animals will prey on livestock, damaging the agricultural industry.
The lawsuit alleges that USDA Wildlife Services is illegally using the Animal Damage Control Act, which allows the agency to remove potentially damaging animals.
The lawsuit adds that the Wildlife Service did not make enough effort to study the effectiveness of what it calls “large-scale slaughter”. It also said that the agency had not considered restricting or moving livestock to areas where they were less likely to be predated before deciding to kill the predators.
“While societies have evolved to understand the importance of native species as an important part of ecosystems and the need for wildlife to coexist, Wildlife Services still continues to rely on archaic practices in the name of ‘management’ of conflicts with wildlife. Wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians.
The lawsuit comes five years after Wildlife Services settled a similar lawsuit by suspending operations aimed at protecting pets from predators.
The WildEarth Guardians group has long battled the Wildlife Service over its predator management program. Conference was approved in 1931 and costs US taxpayers millions of dollars annually.
The New Mexico-based environmental group and the Idaho-based Western Basin Project filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court in Reno, Nevada.
The lawsuit alleges the agency failed to fully disclose or analyze the impact of its plans to expand the use of attacks from small planes and helicopters, as well as to poison and trap animals in the air. United States Forest Service and Land Administration lands in Nevada. Those two agencies are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
After WildEarth Defenders sued over the program in 2012, Wildlife Services agreed in 2016 to halt predator control operations in wildlife and research areas. wildlife in Nevada with some exceptions for public health or safety.
The settlement stipulates that operations — often resulting from ranchers’ requests to act — cannot continue until the agency is in full compliance with federal law.
An update to the agency’s July 2020 review included a conclusion that sage partridges interfered with would benefit from killing baby bird-eating predators, including coyotes. grass and crow.
According to the lawsuit, the agency’s assessment “did not determine that crows and coyotes are depressive or injurious to sage partridge populations.”
These three agencies are violating the National Environmental Policy Act and the Wilderness Act by penalizing an unauthorized “commercial enterprise” in designated wilderness areas without demonstrating that the lethal predator control is needed for a valid “wildlife purpose” or to prevent serious damage to domestic livestock, the lawsuit added.
A spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management, Chris Rose, said in an email that the agency had no comment on the lawsuit. Wildlife Services and the Forest Service did not immediately respond to email requests for comment.
The lawsuit adds that Wildlife Service officials do not consider the circumstances surrounding ranchers’ requests to kill predators that are believed to be killing livestock to determine if the means of lethal is “necessary to prevent serious domestic animals” or to ensure “only the minimum level of control necessary to address the problem will be used.”
Under the plan to continue killing predators, Wildlife Services “simply provide email notification to the office before and after conducting [such management in] agency-managed wilderness areas and wilderness research areas,” the complaint said.
The lawsuit says U.S. government officials also failed to fully assess the local impacts of predator management on the nearly 9,700 square miles (25,000 square kilometers) of wildlife and wilderness research areas. in Nevada.
Environmental assessments by government officials say there is a “very high (95 to 100%) chance” that lethal wildlife control will be conducted in eight wilderness areas and five areas. study in Nevada for the next 10 years.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
https://www.newsweek.com/conservationists-sue-us-agencies-over-resumption-predator-management-program-1660732 Conservationists Sue US Agencies Over Continuing Predator Management Program