Wildlife Services Predator Control Essay

1645 words - 7 pages

The sole purpose of Wildlife Services predator control is to prevent commercial livestock losses from predation by wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, and other wild carnivores (NRDC, 2011). They work with state and local governments and use a combination of lethal control methods like trapping, poisoning, and gunning. There are many different types of trapping, poisoning, and gunning.
There are four main apparatuses used for trapping. Leghold traps are designed to catch the animal by the toes, foot, or leg, with a tightly gripping metal trap. The animal that is captured by this method suffers a great deal of injuries, exposure, hunger, and thirst. Conibear traps are a little bit more humane in the sense that they are designed to be a “quick kill” mechanism which crushes the animal to kill it. This type of trap is mainly used on water animals, but they have been found with pets caught in them and some still alive. Cage traps are a pretty common use in urban areas. The animal is drawn to the cage with some sort of bate and is unharmed (for the time being), most of the animals are killed and not released. Wildlife Services uses this method because of potential liability issues (NRDC, 2011).
Wildlife Services also uses the technique of gunning. The first technique is aerial gunning, in which predators are being shot down by use of a helicopter or fixed-wing aircrafts (NRDC, 2011). Shooting is a method that they use by calling an animal and then shooting it. This means, they use a call that sounds like prey and when that animal comes around looking for food, the Wildlife Services shoot it. Hunting dogs are used to track predators or they are used as “decoy dogs” to draw the predators in.
Compound 1080 is a tasteless, odorless, colorless poison that is extremely toxic to all mammals and lethal to canines. In the past, large chunks of meat were baited and left out where they killed any predator or scavenger that ate them. At present, the only legal use of Compound 1080 is in "livestock protection collars" (LPC’s), which are rubber bladders that are filled with a water solution of 1080 and placed around the necks of sheep or goats. Coyotes normally attack sheep by biting them in the neck. When a coyote punctures an LPC, a few drops of the poison enter the coyote’s mouth. The remainder drips onto the wool and into the torn flesh of the target sheep (which invariably dies) and onto the ground or plants where the sheep is attacked. The meat that poisoned coyotes vomit up is extremely toxic to scavengers. In the days when 1080 was used to bait carcasses and frequently poisoned dogs, the vomit from one dog sometimes wiped out whole packs of hunting hounds. While Wildlife Services is required to attempt to find poisoned coyotes, less than 10 percent are recovered. These carcasses serve as poison bait stations to scavengers, as does that of the dead sheep, which under the regulations can remain on the range as long as a week. "Historically, there has been...

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