The killing of pests such as coyotes that are predators of livestock such as sheep has been the focus of a Federal agency now known as “Wildlife Services
The killing of pests such as coyotes that are predators of livestock such as sheep has been the focus of a Federal agency now known as “Wildlife Services” (Note: it has gone through several name changes and bureaucratic locations—it is now located in the Department of Agriculture—Michael Robinson wrote a fascinating book about the agency titled Predatory Bureaucracy: The Extermination of Wolves and the Transformation of the West. Boulder: The University Press of Colorado, 2005.) Robinson’s book details how the agency developed a strong constituency of ranchers to support the development and growth of their agency and also protected them from attacks by environmentalists and challenges from the professional biological community. Richard Conniff recently wrote a New York Times article titled “American’s Wildlife Body Count” in which he cites research by Adrian Treves and associates that lethal controls are not as effective as non-lethal approaches and sometimes actually lead to worse predation. Conniff notes that despite the publication of the Treves et al. article (in Frontiers of Ecology and the Environment, Sept. 2016) calling into question the resutls of lethal controls, other authors, editors and peer reviewers continued to cite lethal control as effective despite these contrary results. Conniff notes that the Wildlife Services spends a significant amount of money but its reports only list its annual body count of predators but do not attempt to show the efficacy of their efforts. Conniff’s 2016 article praises the Obama Administration for ignoring objections by the State of Alaska in setting aside “73 million acres of national wildlife…off limits” to Alaska’s “withering attack on bears and wolves.” However, under the incoming Trump Administration, one can expect a return to extermination of wildlife considered to be “pests” or “varmints.” Conniff’s article in the New York Times (Sept. 2016) is available at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/18/opinion/sunday/americas-wildlife-body-count.html?emc=edit_tnt_20160917&nlid=10365419&tntemail0=y&_r=0
During my research for the book, I noticed that there was no blog available for sharing informaton on wildlife conservation and thus I set up this blog to accomplish this purpose. Please share any informaticoncerning issues related to wildife policy and politics. I welcome feedback from users concerning this blog and website.