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Groups Ask California's Mendocino & Humboldt Counties to STOP Hiring Wildlife Services to Kill Wildlife

Elly Pepper

Posted June 30, 2014 in Saving Wildlife and WIld Places, U.S. Law and Policy

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In 2012*, California’s Mendocino and Humboldt counties contracted with Wildlife Services – the rogue federal agency responsible for killing 4 million animals last year – to “control” their wildlife. The result? 636 animals dead in just 365 days, including coyotes, black bears, mountain lions, gray and red foxes, and numerous other species. 

And that’s just in two of California’s 58 counties—in California, as a whole, Wildlife Services kills tens of thousands of animals each year. In 2008, for example, the agency killed a total of 79,751 animals in the state.

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                                            (C) Fish and Wildlife Service

Not only is such indiscriminate, large-scale killing of wildlife inhumane and destructive to California’s ecosystems– but we also think it’s illegal under the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) and California’s Public Trust Doctrine.

That’s why we just sent a letter led by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, and also joined by Project Coyote, Center for Biological Diversity, Animal Welfare Institute, and the Mountain Lion Foundation, to the Board of Supervisors in both counties asking them to end their contracts with Wildlife Services and use their funds to implement non-lethal predator control programs instead. For example, they can pay for electric fencing and guard dogs for ranchers—two nonlethal methods of livestock-predator conflict prevention that have proven extremely effective. Indeed, that’s what Sonoma County did last year after ALDF sent them a similar letter. And since Marin County canceled its contract with Wildlife Services 14 years ago, the County has seen 62% decrease in livestock predation at 1/3 of the former cost!

Californians, and Americans at large, don't need Wildlife Services to kill predators in order to ranch successfully -- let's hope Mendocino and Humboldt Counties realize this!

*2012 is the last year for which we have complete data. We have requested complete data for 2013.

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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