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 It also asserts that lethal control methods reflect an outdated value system that inappropriately elevates livestock production above wildlife.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. (more…)
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