Dear Friend of Native Predators

In this era of endlessly awful headlines, we're pleased to report that the barbaric body within the USDA misnamed "Wildlife Services" is being forced to follow the best available science in many protected areas in Idaho for several more years, and possibly longer!

Thanks to a settlement agreement reached last week with conservation groups, restrictions on killing of native predators on protected public lands have been extended to the end of 2024, when Wildlife Services must complete a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Wildlife Services agreed to complete the EIS on its killing of wolves and other essential predators, while simultaneously curtailing wildlife-killing activities it performs in Idaho under the guise of preventing attacks on livestock. The new agreement also blocks the use of certain lethal methods across the state.

Specifically, the agreement mandates that:

  • Protections have been extended from wolves to coyotes and other native wildlife living in Wilderness or Wilderness Study Areas, Areas of Critical Environmental Concern, and most National Monument Lands. The only killing exception allowed is to protect human health and safety.
  • A state-wide halt has been placed on cruel practices like "denning" (gassing or immolating wolf pups in their dens); limits have been placed on trapping methods (e.g. no use of body-gripping conibear traps); and reporting is required if traps go un-checked for over 72 hours.
  • No predators may be killed to bolster deer and elk populations.

Additionally, the agreement extends a long-term moratorium on the use of M-44 "cyanide bombs," which indiscriminately kill pets and wildlife and endanger humans. You've likely heard a lot about M-44s from us over the years, due to our work with M-44 victims, like the Mansfield family of Pocatello. (At present, the entire West Coast is free of these devastating devices and Idaho has had a moratorium since 2017. Our work toward a national ban continues via federal legislation.)

This Idaho settlement agreement was reached pursuant to a 2020 lawsuit, which asserted Wildlife Services had violated federal law by relying on outdated and inadequate assessments of its policies and methods in its predator management programs. The agreement is the result of lawsuits filed by Western Watersheds Project and Advocates for the West which we joined as plaintiffs, along with WildEarth Guardians.

This is a wonderful victory that will help allow native predators to fulfill their natural role in ecosystems, and these protections may well extend beyond 2024. We should all take a moment to feel good about the progress this agreement represents.

News Coverage

Looking Ahead
In other news, those of you who receive our printed newsletter in the mail are about to find a very unusual, but vitally important edition in your mailbox. We will follow up soon with an email sharing the same information with our electronic subscribers.

We hope you are having a restorative holiday weekend. And we thank you for all you have done in our long battle to protect our most vital apex predators. Your help makes all the difference.

For all that is wild and free,

Brooks Fahy
Executive Director
Predator Defense

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"The time has come to seriously examine our relationship with top predators. The question is not whether killing wolves is “sustainable,” as wildlife managers are always trying to assert. The question is whether it is ecologically, ethically, or even economically defensible to kill large numbers of predators anywhere. The answer on all counts is no: there are no reasonable ecological reasons to kill wolves, there are no valid economic reasons, and clearly there are no tenable ethical reasons.”

- Dr. Paul C. Paquet, world-renowned large predator ecologist

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