Conservation Collective Condemns Forest Service’s Proposal for Predator-Killing Plan in Wilderness

Boulder, Co. – Today, thirteen conservation groups based in the Southern Rocky Mountain Region sent a letter to the U.S. Forest Service condemning the agency’s proposal to expand predator killing in Wilderness Areas and Research Natural Areas. The Government’s proposal would allow the USDA-APHIS-Wildlife Services unfettered access to the most highly protected and pristine natural areas in the country in order to kill wildlife for the benefit of agribusiness. Wildlife Service killed 2.7 million animals in 2004—including nearly 83,000 mammalian carnivores such as coyotes, wolves, bobcats, bears, and pumas.

The Wilderness Act expressly prohibited the non-emergency “use of motor vehicles” any “form of mechanical transport” and the “landing of aircraft” in Wilderness Areas.

Yet, in June the Forest Service proposed to allow Wildlife Service to use mechanical devices, such as aerial gunning planes and helicopters, and ATVs (to carry poisonous baits and traps) in Wilderness Areas for the purposes of killing predators.

The groups request that the Forest Service rescind the proposal because it would reflect a dramatic and dangerous change in wildlife management policy and would violate several federal environmental laws.

Furthermore, Wildlife Services recently failed two federal audits because the agency failed to keep track of dangerous lethal poisons, such as sodium cyanide, that it uses to kill predators.

“Wildlife Services killed more than five animals per minute in 2004,”said Wendy Keefover-Ring of Sinapu. “The toll on ecosystems wrought by this one agency is jaw dropping and to let them lose in Wilderness Areas is unconscionable.”

“Wildlife Services is a rogue agency that operates with virtually no public accountability. Now we find that its practices present a national security risk. This is not an agency we want running rough-shod over our Congressionally-protected Wilderness Areas.”
Contacts:
Wendy Keefover-Ring  303.447.8655, Ext. 1#
Director, Carnivore Protection Program,  Sinapu

Lauren McCain, 303.573.4898
Director, Deserts and Grasslands Program, Forest Guardians
For Immediate Release:  August 1, 2006

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