Mendocino County must evaluate the merits of a non-lethal predator control program as a result of a lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental and animal protection groups

Source: Mendocino County to Perform Environmental Study on Lethal Animal Program
County Settles Second Lawsuit with Animal Protection Coalition Over Controversial Wildlife Services Program

Published on Apr 21, 2016 – 9:11:12 AM

By: Center for Biological Diversity 
UKIAH, CA, April 21, 2016 – In a major victory for opponents of animal cruelty, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has agreed to perform a full environmental impact report under the California Environmental Quality Act and immediately suspend its contract with a controversial wildlife-killing agency. The agreement settles a lawsuit brought by a coalition of environmental and animal protection groups against Mendocino County.
The settlement concerns Mendocino County’s contract with Wildlife Services, which operates under the U.S. Department of Agriculture and kills hundreds of coyotes, mountain lions, bears, bobcats and other wildlife in Mendocino County every year. Under the terms of the settlement, Mendocino County must evaluate the merits of a non-lethal predator control program and prepare an environmental impact report under CEQA if it decides to enter into a contract with Wildlife Services in the future.
Mendocino County’s agreement to study the wildlife control program operated by Wildlife Services signals a critical change in policy. In 2014, the coalition sued Mendocino County for failing to comply with CEQA before hiring Wildlife Services. The lawsuit was settled in April 2015, with the county agreeing to comply with CEQA prior to renewing its annual contract with Wildlife Services. However, in June 2015 the county reinstated its contract with Wildlife Services before completing an environmental impact report, as required by CEQA. Instead, the county claimed that lethal predator-control would have no impact on Mendocino County’s ecosystem and was exempt from CEQA. In July 2015 the coalition sued the Mendocino County a second time for breaching the agreement and violating CEQA.
In 2014 Wildlife Services killed approximately 47,000 animals in California (out of nearly 3 million killed nationwide) using traps, snares, poison and other devices.
Mendocino County’s contract with Wildlife Services authorized the program — at a cost of $144,000 to taxpayers — to kill animals without assessing the ecological impacts or considering alternatives.
Peer-reviewed research shows that the reckless slaughter of native predators causes broad ecological destruction. Indiscriminate methods used by Wildlife Services have also killed more than 50,000 nontarget animals since 2000, including family pets, endangered condors, bald eagles and millions of other birds. Studies show that such mass killing — in addition to being cruel and inhumane — negatively impacts the biodiversity of ecosystems.
These lawsuits mark the advocacy groups’ first attempts to require a local government to comply with state law when entering into contracts with the federal agency.
Represented by the law firm Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, the coalition consists of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Welfare Institute, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Mountain Lion Foundation, the Natural Resources Defense Council,
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 990,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places. For more information, visit biologicaldiversity.org.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) was founded in 1979 to protect the lives and advance the interests of animals through the legal system. To accomplish this mission, ALDF files high-impact lawsuits to protect animals from harm; provides free legal assistance and training to prosecutors to assure that animal abusers are punished for their crimes; supports tough animal protection legislation and fights harmful legislation; and provides resources and opportunities to law students and professionals to advance the emerging field of animal law. For more information, please visit aldf.org.
The Animal Welfare Institute is a nonprofit charitable organization founded in 1951 and dedicated to reducing animal suffering caused by people. AWI engages policymakers, scientists, industry, and the public to achieve better treatment of animals everywhere —in the laboratory, on the farm, in commerce, at home, and in the wild. For more information, visit awionline.org.
The Mountain Lion Foundation is a national non-profit organization founded in 1986. For 30 years, the Foundation has worked with member volunteers, activists and partner organizations to create and further wildlife policies that seek to protect mountain lions, people and domestic animals without resorting to lethal measures. For more information, visit mountainlion.org.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 2 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Bozeman, MT, and Beijing. Visit us at nrdc.org and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.
Project Coyote is a national non-profit organization and a North American coalition of wildlife educators, scientists, ranchers, and community leaders promoting coexistence between people and wildlife, and compassionate conservation through education, science, and advocacy.Visit: ProjectCoyote.org

  
Ashleigh Scully Photographer

You are more likely to be struck by lightning seven times before being attacked by an animal predator.

Source: Coyote concerns ‘There is a need to co-exist with wildlife,’ says geographer
April 12, 2016
BY MEAGHAN WHELAN
You are more likely to be struck by lightning seven times before being attacked by an animal predator.
With odds like that, why are people so worried about the presence of coyotes? Dr. Alistair Bath, Department of Geography, has studied coyote/human interactions, particularly in Cape Breton Highlands National Park and on the island portion of our province He will participate in an information session this week about coyotes in St. John’s.
Here, he speaks with Gazette contributor Meaghan Whelan about coyotes in the province.
MW: Are coyotes common in Newfoundland?
AB: Coyotes first appeared in this province on the West Coast in the mid-1980s, so they are still relatively new here. Right now there is limited data available on how many exist, although we do know they are now everywhere on the island. It’s not unusual to see coyotes in urban areas.
“If we learn from other jurisdictions across North America, we should learn to co-exist with wildlife, including coyotes.” — Dr. Alistair Bath

They are naturally expanding their range and are found throughout North America. In many cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, there are coyote populations in the thousands. In places on the mainland where residents have built a tolerance and acceptance for wildlife, coyotes have been spotted in city parks and they’re not seen as a threat towards people.
MW: Should people be concerned about coyotes in their neighbourhood?
AB: Coyotes are wild animals. Not long ago there was a coyote spotted in St. John’s and schools were locked down. People are very much afraid of this new carnivore to the island, but the reality is that the risk to people is extremely low. There has only been one fatality in North America, in Nova Scotia in 2009. The media coverage and the fact that it happened so close to home likely contributes to the high fear levels in Atlantic Canada. You are more likely to be struck by lightning seven times than to be attacked by a predator—and that’s not just coyotes, that includes any predator: coyotes, wolves, bears, etc.  Click HERE to read more

Dr. Alistair Bath studies what it means to co-exist with animals, such as this captive socialized wolf at Wolf Trust U.K.

Animals caught in snare traps take hours or even days to die.

 Wolf culls ensnared in ethical debate (Source)

A groundswell of critics believe the century-old method of trapping animals should be done away with, writes Mark Hume

For more than two decades, Gilbert Proulx has spent countless hours in an enclosed wooded compound, monitoring foxes as they hunted rabbits and squirrels, then setting what he thought were the perfect killing snares on the foxes’ favoured pathways.
But the wildlife researcher, who has been looking for more humane ways for trappers to capture animals, said that when his perfectly set snares were sprung, they rarely caught the foxes in a way that would quickly bring death.
“If you want to have a perfect kill, you have about a one-centimetre target zone right behind the animal’s jaw,” said the science director for Alpha Wildlife Research & Management, a consulting firm based in Sherwood Park, Alta. “But hitting that is like waiting to win Lotto 6/49 – we found it was impossible,” said Mr. Proulx, whose studies have proved that snares rarely work the way they are supposed to.
His first study on snaring foxes was done in 1990, but in a paper published last year, he says little has changed and he is now calling for snares to be phased out.
“A killing neck snare is more cruel than a leg-hold trap,” he said in an interview. “I find this is really, really wrong and inhumane [technology].”
The snare is a primitive but lethal device that has been used by trappers for more than a century in Canada. But because of research by people such as Mr. Proulx, whose studies show snared animals face slow, painful deaths, snaring is coming under intense scrutiny in B.C. and Alberta, where controversial, government-sponsored wolf culls are under way. The provinces aim to reduce predator populations (annually by about 80 in B.C. and about 300 in Alberta) to address the impact of wolves and coyotes on ranchers’ livestock, on declining woodland caribou herds and on big-game species valued by the guide-outfitting industry. And trappers argue that snares have become more humane over the years, and are more economical to use.  [to read more click HERE]

Dr. Gilbert Proulx, Director of Science, Alpha Wildlife Research Management and wolf researcher, holds a snare for catching wild animals, in Sherwood Park, Alta. JASON FRANSON/FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL