M-44 cyanide bombs, aerial gunning, traps and snares – we must remove Wildlife Services’ tools of cruelty
Removing Tools of Cruelty
Wildlife Services employs deadly poisons, aerial gunning, cruel traps and snares, and more to destroy native wildlife.
Coyotes are the species most persecuted by aerial gunners. Yet gunning them down is not only ineffective—coyotes will breed and increase their numbers when members of the pack are killed—but it also takes a massive ecological toll: by preying on smaller carnivores, coyotes benefit bird and rodent populations and enrich the diversity of their ecosystems.
Aerial gunning has other disadvantages, too. Wildlife Services and others have suffered dozens of aircraft crashes, resulting in terrible injuries and death. Flying closely to the ground while chasing coyotes or wolves leads to unwanted contact with wind shears, power lines, trees, or land formations. Gunners frequently shoot their own crafts.
Sodium cyanide M-44s
Sodium cyanide M-44s, also known as “cyanide bombs”, are devices that spray deadly sodium cyanide into the mouths of unsuspecting canids lured by smelly bait. Yet anyone or anything that pulls on the devices can be killed or severely injured by the deadly spray of sodium cyanide, including non-target animals, protected species like wolves, companion animals, and even humans. In 2017, M-44s temporarily blinded a child and killed three family dogs in separate incidents in Idaho and Wyoming.
This deadly avian toxin causes the largest number of deaths by Wildlife Services each year, poisoning millions of blackbirds, grackles, and others. After ingesting this slow-acting, highly toxic substance, a bird will die one to three days later; its body is likely to go unfound (and, therefore, uncounted) by Wildlife Services. DRC-1339 also kills many non-target species, including federally protected species like whooping cranes and bald eagles. Birds ingest DRC-1339-poisoned grains and die, or avian predators eat dead or dying birds that have been poisoned.
Also known as sodium fluoroacetate, this poison is placed in “livestock protection collars” worn around the necks of domestic sheep and cattle. It results in horrific and excruciating deaths. After exposure, death can take as long as 15 hours and involves cardiac failure, respiratory arrest, or severe, prolonged convulsions.
Sodium and potassium nitrates, poisons commonly used for mammalian carnivore pups, are combined with sulfur and carbon in canisters that are ignited and used as rodenticides, predacides, or insecticides in burrows or dens. Because these pesticides are used in burrows and dens, many non-target species, such as desert tortoises, black-footed ferrets, and burrowing owls, are susceptible to unintentional poisoning.
Make Our Public Lands Cruelty-Free
Tell your elected officials to End the War on Wildlife. Stand with wildlife against the cruel and ecologically destructive practices of the federal wildlife-killing agency, Wildlife Services.
How You Can Help
Help protect the incredible, vulnerable wildlife of the West! Be a guardian for the wild by joining the conversation, learning about current issues, and making your voice heard. Together, we’re a powerful force for nature.
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