The Idaho Statesman, June 10, 2012 Sunday Edition surprised me. Right there on the front page, complete with sketch of a wolf sniffing a M-44, was a huge story entitled : Wildlife Services' Methods leave a trail of animal death.
One quote from the article stated : If people knew how many animals are being killed at taxpayer expense-often on public lands- they would be shocked and horrified." Camilla Fox, executive director of Project Coyote.
Its not just the coyotes and other "nuisance animals" that are caught in brutal traps, fed capsules containing powdered sodium cyanide (the M-44), snared and killed, its Bald Eagles, bears, dogs, raccoons and fox. This is just part one of a two part series, which fills two more pages,16 and 17 of section one. I'm proud of Idaho Statesman. They gave a lot of press to an important issue: at what point in time do animals become nuisances worthy of such targeting?
Body Grips are used to catch beaver. This contraptions uses extreme force. 123,631 intentional deaths and 6,591 unintentional deaths are attributed to this Mouse Trap type of killer.
The snare is made from thin aircraft cable, strung like nooses, killing the animals after they fight and induce self strangulation. 155,050 intentional deaths, 3,859 unintentional deaths are attributed to this horrific trap.
Leg hold are buried like land mines, closing on the foot, holding the animal until the trapper arrives. We've all heard of animals chewing off their own foot to escape. 69,869 deaths are attributed to this torture, 2,896 unintentional.
The poison M-44 is a stick in the ground, baited with smelly stuff. Anything comes close enough to tug on it gets the poison injected into the mouth. 81,673 intentional deaths, and 3,213 unintentional deaths are attributed to this tool.
As an animal lover, this kind of thing is disturbing.
Ok, so then what's my point? This data covers a 5 year period. Critics say the unintentional deaths are way under reported. Who wants to report they killed an eagle, member of a protected species? The article says one guy was told to just bury the thing and shut up about it.
Not that we could trust our government reports ever completely. Look at the housing market. We're constantly told it bottomed out. I've been hearing that for two years now.
But what of the ever growing population of coyotes invading the outskirts of town, killing pets and threatening our safety. I say, allow those affected to kill the animal, and bring it in for documentation, if necessary. Let each local district make their own rules. Let the public know what's going on, and become involved in hunting.
Wild pigs are top on my list. I've seen their devastation and know how dangerous they can be. Let hunters go get them and feed the people. That has to be a win win situation. Just be careful for the parasites.