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The Wildlife Services agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture is currently being audited by the USDA Office of the Inspector General. But the killing continues.
Just last week, Wildlife Services sharpshooters killed 23 wolves from a helicopter in a remote area in Idaho.
The killing has to stop. Urge Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to impose a moratorium on Wildlife Services' killing of wolves and other top predators pending the outcome of the ongoing Inspector General's audit.
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
I respectfully request that you initiate an immediate moratorium on the lethal control of wolves and other top predators by Wildlife Services while the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of the Inspector General performs an audit of Wildlife Services' damage control program.
The damage predator control program, which uses government funds, has demonstrated a serious need for greater oversight and investigation. For example, Wildlife Services, working at the request of the state of Idaho, just conducted a secretive aerial gunning operation by helicopter in the Lolo elk zone which killed 23 wolves. Furthermore, neither Wildlife Services nor the state of Idaho would admit to of this operation, which involved high-powered rifles, until after the killing had been conducted.
Wildlife Services' predator control program has recently been the subject of public scrutiny regarding unprofessional behavior, the deaths of non-target species including an endangered Mexican gray wolf and failure to implement viable and proven non-lethal management alternatives, suggesting that many of the program's practices are inefficient, ineffective, and scientifically unfounded.
Wildlife Services can provide assistance to livestock owners to prevent conflict with predators in the form of proactive and non-lethal wildlife management. USDA's National Wildlife Research Center (NWRC) has played an integral role in developing some of these techniques, which have been proven effective. Wildlife Services field agents should be using more of these nonlethal techniques that the NWRC has gone to such lengths to develop. This moratorium would provide an excellent opportunity for field agents to use these tools and help livestock owners learn how to reduce the vulnerability of the livestock, which is a much more sustainable strategy than lethal removal.
The pending audit of Wildlife Services damage control program is a critically important step in providing the necessary guidance and oversight Wildlife Services requires in order to apply an integrated approach to wildlife damage management. I strongly encourage you to initiate a moratorium on Wildlife Services' lethal control of wolves and other predators while USDA Office of the Inspector General completes its audit of Wildlife Services damage control programs.
Thank you for your consideration