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Lawsuit Launched to Save Lynx, Wolves, Condors, Other Endangered Animals From Deadly Pesticides Used to Kill Predators

December 21, 2016
Bethany Cotton, (406) 414-7227 bcotton@wildearthguardians.org
In This Release

Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Lawsuit Launched to Save Lynx, Wolves, Condors, Other Endangered Animals From Deadly Pesticides Used to Kill Predators

Conservation and animal-welfare groups today filed a notice of intent to sue
Contact: Bethany Cotton, (406) 414-7227 bcotton@wildearthguardians.org

Additional Contacts:

ColletteAdkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821, cadkins@biologicaldiversity.org

Rachel Querry, The HumaneSociety of the United States, (301) 258-8255, rquerry@humanesociety.org

WASHINGTON— Conservationand animal-welfare groups today filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fishand Wildlife Service for failing to protect imperiled mammals and birds fromtwo deadly pesticides used to kill coyotes and other predators. The suit seekscommon-sense mitigation measures to prevent exposure of the poisons tonontarget predatory and scavenging animals, including grizzly bears, Canadalynx, wolves and California condors.

“Wehope our lawsuit spurs reform of these barbaric tactics used to poisonwildlife,” said Collette Adkins, an attorney and biologist at the Center.“These dangerous pesticides need to be banned, but until then, they shouldn’tbe used where they risk killing wolves and other endangered wildlife.”

The EPA has registered thepesticides at issue—sodium cyanide and Compound 1080—for use by “Wildlife Services,” thepredator-control arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as bystate predator-control agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexicoand Texas.

M-44 devices propel lethal doses of sodium cyanide into the mouths ofanimals lured by bait, while Compound 1080 is used in “livestock protectioncollars” strapped onto the necks of sheep and goats that often graze on publiclands. The collars contain bladders filled with liquid poison intended to killcoyotes.

“These indiscriminate poisons pose enormous risks to native wildlife,domestic dogs and all of us who use our public lands,” said Bethany Cotton,wildlife program director for WildEarth Guardians. “It is long past time thatwe end both the misguided scapegoating of carnivores and the use of thesedeadly poisons.”

These pesticides pose thehighest risk for endangered wildlife capable of triggering the devices, such asgrizzly bears and wolves. Secondary exposure through Compound 1080-poisonedcarcasses can also kill imperiled scavengers like California condors, baldeagles and spotted owls. According to data compiled by Wildlife Services, M-44devices last year killed 13,860 native animals, mostly coyotes and foxes. In2015 the devices poisoned nearly 385 nontarget animals, including a wolf, opossums,raccoons, skunks and family pets.

“The EPA considers both ofthese toxicants Category 1 poisons—the most deadly. The use of thesehorrific, indiscriminate pesticides by taxpayer-funded federal and stateagencies must end immediately,” said Anna Frostic, senior wildlife attorney atThe Humane Society of the United States. “These agencies cannot prioritize themass slaughter of wildlife ahead of their legal obligation to protectendangered species—as they’ve done here.”

Impacts of these pesticideson endangered wildlife have not been analyzed since the Service prepared a“biological opinion” in 1993. The lawsuit, brought by the Center for BiologicalDiversity, WildEarth Guardians, The Humane Society of the United States and theFund for Animals, should spur the Service to recommend additional measures toprotect endangered wildlife, such as restricting use of the pesticides wherethe endangered animals live.

The Center forBiological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization withmore than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protectionof endangered species and wild places.

WildEarthGuardians is a nonprofit conservation organization with over 168,000 membersand supporters working to protect and restore wildlife, wild places, wildrivers and health in the American West.

The HumaneSociety of the United States is the nation’s largest animal protectionorganization, rated most effective by our peers. For 60 years, we have celebrated theprotection of all animals and confronted all forms of cruelty.

The Fund for Animals operates the nation’s largest and most diversenetwork of animal care centers. An affiliate of The Humane Society of theUnited States, The Fund for Animals provides hands-on care and safe haven formore than 3,000 animals representing 150 species each year, including thoserescued from cruelty and neglect, victims of the exotic pet trade, injured andorphaned wildlife, refugees from research labs, and many more, and works toprevent cruelty through advocacy and education.

Other Contact
Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821, cadkins@biologicaldiversity.org
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