If there ever was a government agency that needed defunding, it’s the U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services. They target predators, especially coyotes, which have been slaughtered in the millions over the centuries. This is the only reason Wildlife Services exists. Coyotes, wolves, bears, cougars and many other wildlife species are trapped, shot, snared and killed by M-44s (the cyanide device that recently killed Casey, a three-year-old lab, and injured his young owner in Southern Idaho.) Predators are targeted because they sometimes prey on livestock on public land. By the Wildlife Service’s own count, 2.7 million animals were killed in 2016. These numbers do not include “sport hunting.”
Lethal predator control does not work. Coyotes increase reproduction to make up for their losses. When dominant members of wolf packs are killed it leaves less-experienced animals that take easy prey like livestock because they haven’t been taught hunting skills. The same is true with cougars.
Predators are an integral part of the ecosystem. Taxpayers are paying for this despicable agency’s work. While the Trump administration is defunding government agencies, demand that Wildlife Services be one of them.
Susan Westervelt, Deary