This is a powerful, well researched and well written piece on our taxpayer-funded federal Wildlife Services. Here are a few excepts:
Since 2000, its (Wildlife Services) employees have killed nearly a million coyotes, mostly in the West. They have destroyed millions of birds, from nonnative starlings to migratory shorebirds, along with a colorful menagerie of more than 300 other species, including black bears, beavers, porcupines, river otters, mountain lions and wolves. [Click here to see statistics.]
In most cases, they have officially revealed little or no detail about where the creatures where killed, or why. But a Bee investigation has found the agency’s practices to be indiscriminate, at odds with science, inhumane and sometimes illegal.
Gary Strader, an employee of the US Dept of Agriculture [Wildlife Services], stepped out of his truck near a ravine in Nevada and found something he hadn’t intense to kill. There, strangled in a neck snare, was one of the most majestic birds in America, a federally protected golden eagle.
“I called my supervisor and said, ‘I just caught a golden eagle and it’s dead.’ He said ‘Did anybody see it…if you think nobody saw it, go get a shovel and bury it and don’t say nothing to anybody.”
A dog owner’s anguish
Sharyn Aguiar writes about the death of her German Shepherd Max, who poisoned by a government M-44 sodium cyanide cartridge in Utah in 2006.
“I kneeled at the top of his head, bending over him, crying and trying to figure out what happened to him. I remember crying out ‘I don’t understand, I don’t understand’ as I looked at his mouth. His mouth had a pinkish/salmonish colored foam coming from it.”
[Click here to see more Wildlife Mysteries Revealed.]
This investigation’s findings include:
• With steel traps, wire snares and poison, agency employees have accidentally killed more than 50,000 animals since 2000 that were not problems, including federally protected golden and bald eagles; more than 1,100 dogs, including family PETS; and several species considered rare or imperiled by wildlife biologists. [For more on trapping problems, click here.]
• Since 1987, at least 18 employees and several members of the public have been exposed to cyanide when they triggered spring-loaded cartridges laced with poison meant to kill coyotes. They survived – but 10 people have died and many others have been injured in crashes during agency aerial gunning operations since 1979.
• A growing body of science has found the agency’s war against predators, waged to protect livestock and big game, is altering ecosystems in ways that diminish biodiversity, degrade habitat and invite disease.
See the full story and the many interesting attachments at: Sac Bee