In a major win for Montana’s wildlife, WildEarth Guardians has settled its lawsuit against USDA’s Wildlife Services after the federal program agreed to severely curtail its reckless slaughter of native wildlife and use of cruel tools such as snares, traps, and poisons. The settlement requires that these protections remain in place pending the program’s completion of a detailed and public environmental review of its work.
The settlement agreement comes after Guardians sued Wildlife Services in November 2019 over the program’s reliance on severely outdated environmental reviews of its work. The agreement, filed with the federal district court of Montana, provides that Wildlife Services will no longer conduct any wildlife killing in Montana’s specially protected areas such as designated Wilderness, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and Wild & Scenic River corridors and will cease killing black bears and cougars on federal lands throughout the state. Additionally, Wildlife Services agreed to halt its use of sodium cyanide bombs (M44s) on all the state’s public lands and most private lands, as well as end the use other poisons on public lands or use gas cartridges to destroy denning wildlife like coyotes, fox, and prairie dogs.
“This case advances 21st century wildlife values: top carnivores living their lives free of persecution and free to carry out their critical ecological roles; current science confirms that native predators like wolves, bears, and cougars maintain webs of life that serve us all,” said Jennifer Schwartz, staff attorney at WildEarth Guardians. “We’re proud to be driving this systemic change and hope to see these settlement terms adopted on a permanent basis, in Montana, as a step towards broader changes in wildlife management reform.”
Read the press release.