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Petitioning Deputy Administrator of Wildlife Services William H. Clay and 2 others

Wildlife Services: Use Non-Lethal Methods, First and Foremost


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Between 2006 and 2011 (5 years), Wildlife Services, an agency of the U.S Department of Agriculture, killed nearly 560,000 target predators, consisting mainly of coyotes, wolves, mountain lions and bobcats. In those 5 short years, 25,000 gray and red foxes, 10,700 bobcats, 2,800 black bears, 2,300 timber wolves, 2,100 mountain lions and over 512,500 coyotes were killed by Wildlife Services. In 2011 alone; in one short year, the agency killed 83,200 coyotes, 565 black bears and 400 mountain lions.

The most often used form of killing predators that are considered "problems" is the use of helicopters and small planes to gun down the animals from the sky, at times leaving them only injured and left to suffer. Other favored forms of killing are traps such as leg-hold traps, neck snares, "body grip" traps and spring-loaded cartridges laced with cyanide.

These traps kill indiscriminately, often taking non-target species. Over 150 different non-target species have been killed by these traps since 2000. Some of the most common are the endangered and federally protected golden eagle, bald eagle, wolverine and swift fox. These traps are even known to kill family pets! On average, eight family dogs a month (a total of 96 per year) are killed by mistake.

These numbers are staggering, though many believe them to be underestimated due to a lack of accountability and transparency of the agency, leaving questions as to how many endangered species have suffered and leaving pet owners wondering where their beloved dog has gone.

Not only are the methods of predator removal inhumane and dangerous to non-target species and humans alike, but the very practice of predator removal has been shown by many studies, scientific publications and top professionals in the fields of biology and ecology as ineffective at aiding big game - such as mule deer - and that these "problem" species do not, in fact, cost ranchers nearly the amount in damages they are rumored to.

Wildlife Services has operated in the shadows for far too long. We, as the American public, need to tell Wildlife Services that we will not stand for their out-dated, cruel and scientifically unsound methods. We need to tell them to use non-lethal forms of predator control and remove these dangerous traps from our public lands. 


Photo Credit: © Tom & Pat Leeson / found at

This petition was delivered to:
  • Deputy Administrator of Wildlife Services
    William H. Clay
  • Associate Deputy Administrator of Wildlife Services
    Martin Mendoza
  • United States Secretary of Agriculture
    Tom Vilsack

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