Wed, Nov 08, 2017 - Page 7 News List

US to ban use of ‘cyanide bombs’ on animals in Colorado

Reuters

The US government is to suspend the use of so-called cyanide bombs to kill wild animals on public lands in Colorado, as well as plans to kill dozens of mountain lions and black bears there, federal officials and conservationists said on Monday.

The legal agreement was struck between Wildlife Services, a branch of the US Department of Agriculture charged with killing so-called nuisance animals like coyotes, and conservation groups.

The deal was the second of its kind in less than a week and came as controversy mounted about the agency’s use of M44s, which critics term “cyanide bombs.”

PET KILLERS

The spring-loaded devices emit sodium cyanide and are blamed for accidentally killing pet dogs in Idaho, Wyoming and elsewhere.

Center for Biological Diversity attorney Colleen Adkins on Monday said the aim of lawsuits filed by activists in western US states against Wildlife Services was “to combat cruel treatment of wildlife.”

A Wildlife Services spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

The Colorado agreement stems from a lawsuit filed in April in US District Court in Denver by the Center for Biological Diversity and others.

The groups alleged that Wildlife Services violated federal law by failing to fully assess the potential impact of the killing of cougars and bears in Colorado on other native wildlife, like protected Canada lynx.

Federal officials also had planned to shoot as many as 45 mountain lions and 75 bears in western Colorado over three years in a move to fight the decline of mule deer favored by hunters.

Under terms of the Colorado deal, Wildlife Services are to assess the likely consequences of its predator-control activities on other wildlife and the environment by August next year and suspend the use of M44s on public lands in the state, court documents showed.

Federal officials are also to suspend plans to kill cougars or bears there to boost deer numbers, court documents said.

CALIFORNIA

On Wednesday last week, a US judge approved a settlement between Wildlife Services and environmental activists tied to a lawsuit they filed in California that similarly alleged the US agency had failed to conduct a thorough environmental analysis of its killing of wild animals in Northern California.

Under that accord, Wildlife Services suspended for at least six years its practice of gunning down coyotes from helicopters and airplanes, and using traps to kill creatures in wilderness areas in 16 northern California counties.

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