Wildlife: Showdown over California coyote slaughter

Conservation advocates protest coyote-killing contest

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A coyote in Yellowstone National Park. Photo courtesy USGS.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Animal welfare and wildlife conservation advocates have turned their attention to a bloodthirsty coyote-killing contest in northern California, where a local sheriff said he won’t enforce federal laws and apparently even justified the violation of those laws.

At issue is the Coyote Drive 13, an old-school predator slaughter that could potentially endanger other species, including a lone wolf that wandered into California last year.

“The concept of making a contest out of killing wildlife is ethically indefensible and suggests that wildlife have no value other than as live targets in an outdoor shooting gallery,” said Camilla Fox, Project Coyote executive director and a wildlife consultant to the Animal Welfare Institute. “We intend to work with state officials to put an end to such gratuitous slaughter of wildlife as part of a contest to win prizes.” Continue reading

Colorado: Coyotes kill pet dog in Aspen

State biologists say keeping pets leashed is a good idea in wildlife areas

A coyote roams through brush. PHOTO COURTESY JOHN AND KAREN HOLLINGSWORTH and the We For Animals website. Please click to learn more about this organization.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — An Aspen resident out for a walk on Smuggler Mountain Friday got more of a wildlife experience than she wanted, when a pack of coyotes attacked and killed her pet labradoodle.

According to the Colorado Division of Wildlife, the woman said she was walking her six-month old Labradoodle in an area where it is legal for pets to roam off-leash when one or more coyotes attacked the puppy after it apparently approached them in a playful manner.

“This is a very unfortunate incident and I feel very badly for this lady,” said Area Wildlife Manager Perry Will. “It is also a sad reminder that pet owners need to keep their pets on a leash and take precautions whenever they walk their pets in areas where they could encounter wildlife.” Continue reading

Breckenridge developing wildlife management plan

A Colorado coyote. PHOTO COURTESY MICHAEL SERAPHIN/CDOW.

Mapping habitat and educating residents are key to reducing confrontations between animals and people

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — A series of complaints about coyotes in a couple of Breckenridge neighborhoods has prompted the town to push ahead with an overall wildlife management policy aimed at educating residents and adopting best management practices for reducing confrontations between animals and people — like not feeding wild animals and keeping garbage secured properly.

“We finalized the concept through the sustainability committee. We’re gathering information from other areas and working with the Colorado Natural Heritage Program,” said Heide Andersen, the town’s open space and trails director. Continue reading

Group wants to end aerial gunning of coyotes

In Native American mythology, coyote is the trickster, a clever survivor who adapts and teaches. But the federal government hunts coyotes as unwanted varmints, sometimes shooting them from small planes and helicopters, other times setting poisoned traps on the ground. WildEarth Guardians has filed a formal petition with the Obama administration to end the so-called predator control program, calling it a relic from a bygone era.Friday, WildEarth Guardians announced they are formally asking President Barack Obama to to issue an Executive Order that would end the practice.Environmental activists are making a renewed push to stop the aerial killing of coyotes on federal lands. WildEarth Guardians also wants federal land management agencies to develop a a new management paradigm for native carnivores on the Nation's public lands."Federal wildlife-killing programs are unsafe, illegal, and reckless," said Wendy Keefover-Ring, director of Carnivore Protection for WildEarth Guardians.

WildEarth Guardians petitions Obama administration to end controversial predator control program

By Bob Berwyn

Wildlife conservation advocates have long sought to stop the government from spending money on aerial killing and poison-laced booby traps. Now, sensing a favorable political climate, they’re backing up their request with a well-documented litany of evidence.

Among other things, the petition highlights science that documents the critical role that carnivores play in ecosystems. It also asserts that lethal control methods reflect an outdated value system that inappropriately elevates livestock production above wildlife.

“Our federal government and others indiscriminately kill tens of thousands of animals on public lands each year,” stated Keefover-Ring, with WildEarth Guardians.  While one federal agency spends millions of dollars to restore species such as wolves, another spends millions to slaughter them.  Today, we have asked the Obama administration to end the war on our wildlife by stopping aerial gunning and poisoning on federal lands.”

The petition alleges that aerial gunning is not being adequately overseen by the Department of Interior, as is required under the Airborne Hunting Act. The Law requires states  to file annual reports with the government with information about aerial gunning permits issued. According to WildEarth Guardians, the federal government is not complying with those requirements.

“In April, we filed a records request with the Department of Interior. Seven months later, the agency has been unable to show us that it is adequately monitoring aerial gunning activities for the past ten years, including acts that appear to be illegal,” said Keefover-Ring.  “So we have called upon President Obama and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to place an immediate moratorium on aerial gunning activities.”

The lack of accountability likely contributes to the fact that aerial gunning is not only deadly for wildlife, but often times for pilots and gunners as well. WildEarth Guardians has documented 119 aerial gunning accidents. Pilots fly into power lines and trees. Gunners shoot their own engines, and when they fail to make a clean kill, they double back into their own turbulence and plummet from wind shears, said Keefover-Ring.

“Ending aerial-gunning activities makes sense given the danger to both wildlife and people,” she added. Continue reading

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