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anonymous Coexisting with Wildlife November 07, 2005 7:19 PM

Coexisting with Wildlife

As human development progressively encroaches on wildlife habitat, conflicts between wildlife and people increase. Each year, in response to such actual or perceived conflicts, people turn to lethal control efforts to kill "offending" animals. In addition to being inhumane, lethal control efforts are generally doomed to fail, as they don't address the root causes of conflicts or provide long-lasting solutions.

The cornerstone of API's "Coexisting with Wildlife" campaign is the promotion of educated coexistence with our wild neighbors. Through advocacy at a variety of levels, API uses its expertise to take aim at the needless killing of wildlife. We protect animals by educating people about the benefits of peaceful coexistence, providing tools and guidance for nonlethal conflict management, and publicizing solutions that can prevent conflicts from arising in the first place. We also use legislative and regulatory channels to speak for the wild animals who cannot speak for themselves.

API's "Coexisting with Wildlife" campaigns focus on two main areas: "nuisance" wildlife control, which is primarily an issue in urban and suburban areas, and lethal predator control, which occurs more in rural or agricultural regions. We are a recognized leader in the fight against both of these cruel and unnecessary practices.

Protecting Urban Wildlife

"Nuisance" wildlife control in which people hire wildlife control operators to trap and kill animals in an attempt to mitigate conflicts is a lucrative, growing, and largely unregulated industry with little accountability or even basic humane animal care and treatment standards.

"Animal damage" or "pest" control trappers also known as Wildlife Control Operators, or WCOs number in the tens of thousands nationwide. As urban sprawl increases, so do interactions between humans and wild animals. This has led to greater demand for WCO services, despite the fact that many conflicts between people and wildlife can be mitigated by simple changes in human behavior.

Individuals and businesses contract with WCOs to resolve conflicts between humans and wild animals. State and federal wildlife agencies have traditionally left resolution of such conflicts to individual initiative, and allow people to hire private wildlife control businesses that typically charge a fee for wildlife removal services. Unfortunately, the emphasis by the WCO industry is often on lethal removal of animals. Many WCOs are former or current fur trappers who do urban wildlife damage control trapping on the side.

Oversight of wildlife damage control businesses has lagged behind the industry's growth. State agencies have been hesitant to regulate the business practices of an industry they see as largely commercial in nature, although the wildlife control operators affect hundreds of thousands of wild animals annually. As a result, many states have almost no regulations providing proper oversight or defining humane care and handling of wildlife impacted by this trade.

API provides communities, homeowners, and other stakeholders conflict mitigation solutions and resources that are humane and designed for the long term.

Protecting Native Carnivores

The killing of native carnivores, or "predators" to benefit private interests is big business, and one of the government's most shameful secrets.

Each year, nearly 100,000 native carnivores are killed by the federal government on public and private lands across the United States. This slaughter is carried out by the Wildlife Services program (formerly Animal Damage Control), under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Lethal control is conducted primarily to protect privately owned livestock grazing on public lands, and also used to ensure "game" stocks for hunters or protect corporate-owned timberlands from being damaged by bears.

The primary methods used to kill native carnivores are cruel and indiscriminate. They include poisons, steel-jaw leghold traps, strangulation neck snares, denning (the killing of coyote pups in their dens), hounding, shooting, and aerial gunning.

API is committed to using legislation, litigation, and public education to stop this wasteful and unnecessary subsidy and the inhumane methods employed to kill native carnivores. API is also part of the national Coalition to End Aerial Gunning.

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anonymous  November 07, 2005 7:25 PM

Coexisting with Wildlife

When we destroy habitat, wild animals find ways to survive in the altered landscape. Some species, such as raccoons, even thrive. This means that wildlife and human interests may come into conflict. Too often, such conflicts are addressed by killing animals - a practice known as "lethal control." However, lethal control is not only ethically objectionable to many Americans, but is also often ineffective, particularly in the long term, at resolving the very problems it is meant to address. The key to successful conflict resolution usually involves modifying human behavior and removing wildlife attractants.

In addition to actively participating in community programs and legislation to resolve human/wildlife conflicts, API also offers brochures - on Coexisting with Wildlife, Coexisting with Coyotes, Coexisting with Deer, and Coexisting with Geese - that offer simple ways to coexist with our wild neighbors. API also offers two PSA announcements: Avoiding Deer Collisions and Living with Coyotes.

Take Action!

You can make a difference by adopting two complementary approaches.

  1. Get involved in your community to change the way "nuisance" wildlife is treated. For tips and techniques, see our Introduction to Advocacy.
  2. Use non-lethal ways of living with wildlife. Besides our brochures, you can find a comprehensive look at ways to peacefully coexist with wildlife in "Urban Wildlife: Live and Let Live," an article from the Summer 2005 Animal Issues.

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anonymous  November 07, 2005 7:32 PM

Get The Facts: Ten Fast Facts about Wildlife Control

1. Each year, in response to actual or perceived conflicts with wildlife, millions of animals are killed by the federal government and by private wildlife damage control operators. Lethal control efforts are largely inhumane and generally doomed to fail as they don't address the root causes of conflicts or provide long-lasting solutions.

2. Most conflicts with wildlife can be mitigated or prevented by simple changes to human behavior, as outlined in API's Living with Wildlife brochures and resources about how to coexist with native wild animals such as the coyote.

3. Effective approaches to common conflicts with urban wildlife include tightly securing garbage cans, capping chimneys, and not leaving pet food outside.

4. Lethal control often fails to resolve conflicts with wildlife over the long-term because new animals quickly fill the void created when animals are removed. Unless the actual cause of conflicts, such as access to food, water, and shelter, are addressed, problems typically recur.

5. "Nuisance" wildlife control is a growing and largely unregulated industry. Many states have few or no regulations providing proper oversight or defining humane care and handling of wildlife affected by this trade.

6. Wildlife control operators, hired to handle conflicts with "nuisance" animals, often employ inhumane killing methods including drowning, bludgeoning, and injection of chemical solvents such as acetone. (the primary ingredient in nail polish remover) - methods still legal in most states.

7. More than 2.5 million animals are killed by the federal government each year, through the United States. Department of Agriculture's "Wildlife Services" program. Animals targeted include coyotes, bears, wolves, bobcats, vultures, cormorants, and ravens, all killed to benefit private and corporate interests.

8. Wildlife Services kills close to 100,000 native carnivores each year, primarily to protect livestock interests. Animals such as wolves and bears are also killed to boost "game" stocks for hunters and to protect corporate-owned timberlands.

9. Methods employed by Wildlife Services to kill animals include trapping, aerial gunning, poisoning, denning, and shooting.

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anonymous  November 07, 2005 7:40 PM

Get The Facts: Ten Fast Facts about Wildlife Protection

1. Countless wild animals are displaced by urban sprawl and habitat fragmentation, which sometimes lead to conflicts between people and wildlife.

2. Real or perceived conflicts between people and wildlife, coupled with human fear, biases, or a lack of knowledge about humane approaches to solving such conflicts, results in millions of animals being needlessly killed each year.

3. Some of the ways in which wild animals are abused or exploited by humans include sport and trophy hunting, commercial and recreational fur trapping, "nuisance" wildlife control, and lethal predator control.

4. Wild animals are also exploited in the exotic "pet" trade, the fur trade, and the entertainment industry

5. Most Americans are opposed to the killing of wildlife in sport and trophy hunting, trapping, and the fur industry.

6. Using taxpayer money, the United States government subsidizes the egregious abuse of wildlife to benefit private or corporate interests, including commercial and recreational trapping on the National Wildlife Refuge System and the killing of native carnivores.

7. Each year, more than 2.5 million animals are killed by the federal government on public and private lands across the U.S. Close to 100,000 of these animals are native carnivores, including wolves, coyotes, bears, foxes, and bobcats.

8. Methods that the U.S. government uses to kill wildlife include trapping, poisoning, aerial gunning, denning (killing coyote or fox pups in their dens), hounding, and shooting.

9. The "nuisance" wildlife control industry is lucrative, growing, and largely unregulated with little accountability or even basic humane animal care and treatment standards.

10. Most conflicts between humans and wild animals are actually "people problems" that can be resolved or prevented, often in a permanent, cost-efficient manner, by changing human behavior (such as prohibiting the intentional feeding of wildlife).

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I think this is a very important issue March 26, 2006 5:11 AM

that so many of us need to take into consideration so many times i have read about shark attacks and how they killed the shark that attacked a human now take into consideration that very few shark attacks are actually fatel.this is their world we have entered they are predators by nature we need to understand that and stop killing animals for what is natural for them to is called survival they need to eat as well as humans .  [ send green star]
Thanks Betty March 26, 2006 11:27 AM

I appreciate you posting this Betty. It goes along the lines of my work as well.

Mike Wagner -- Director and Founder of Heart of the
Wolf Organization -- and Co-Host of
KWF Wolf Conservation

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