June 30, 2022
We have a new victory to report in our campaign to clamp down on the killing of native wildlife on behalf of the livestock industry. A new settlement approved today in our lawsuit challenging USDA Idaho Wildlife Service’s wildlife-killing in Idaho prohibits the agency from killing coyotes and other wildlife in many protected areas, and restricts the methods they may use, across the state. The new agreement extends to coyotes and other native predators many of the protections we won for wolves in our 2020 settlement.
We’re going to keep up the pressure on USDA Wildlife Services until they get out of the business of using taxpayer dollars to kill our nation’s wildlife.
Our 2020 settlement prohibited Wildlife Services’ wolf-killing in wildernesses and Wilderness Study Areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and most National Monument lands, pending a new look at the agency’s Idaho activities in a full Environmental Impact Statement. Under the new settlement, those interim protections are extended to coyotes and other native wildlife. In addition, there is a new protection for wolves statewide, banning the use of fire and poison gas to kill wolf pups in their dens.
The settlement requires the following additional restrictions:
- No use of body-gripping (conibear) traps statewide;
- 72-hour trap check guidelines will go into effect to reduce the suffering of trapped animals, and Wildlife Services will have to report to us any incidents of failing to meet that standard;
- No predator-killing will be allowed in order to increase populations of hunted prey species.
The settlement also extends the deadline for Wildlife Services to complete its statewide Environmental Impact Statement until the end of 2024, which also extends the interim protections of our wolf settlement and the statewide moratorium on M-44 ‘cyanide bomb’ deployment. The EIS will also have to include an alternative that continues these types of restrictions for the long term.
Western Watersheds Project provided the main legal firepower for this case, and Advocates for the West provided co-counsel for our plaintiff group, which includes WildEarth Guardians and Predator Defense. These courtroom efforts are part of a bigger push to end wildlife-killing programs nationwide, including advocacy in Congress and with the Presidential administration. We’ll keep fighting until the wildlife killing ends once and for all!