June 1, 2016 - Today we filed suit with five other groups to stop the federal government's illegal and scientifically egregious slaughter of wolves in Idaho.
Our suit seeks to halt all federal wolf control and killing activities being performed in Idaho until the agency doing the killing—USDA Wildlife Services— completes an updated, valid Environmental Impact Statement. The suit declares that Wildlife Services has not only completely ignored the best available science, but also failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act.
In the last five years since wolves lost federal protection, Idaho has become the national poster child for wolf-killing. Before delisting in 2011, Idaho had the largest wolf population in the Rockies, at approximately 1,000. Idaho is now the biggest wolf-killing state in the Lower 48. Hunters and trappers have killed over 1,500, and hundreds more have been killed by government and private sources. Idaho's Governor wants to bring the total wolf population down to 150, a scientifically egregious and socially heinous goal.
At present, wolves in Idaho are not able to perform their essential ecosystem services as apex predators. They are under such tremendous pressure from federal agents gunning them down from helicopters—let alone hunters and trappers—that they are performing almost no ecosystem services at all. They are living in social chaos and running for their lives. This must stop. And this case marks an important first step—going after the federal government's ecological misbehavior.
Attorneys from Advocates for the West and Western Watersheds Project are representing us and the other co-plaintiffs, who include WildEarth Guardians, Friends of the Clearwater, and Center for Biological Diversity. We're also pleased to report that this case is in good company: It joins the 2015 Washington lawsuit, which we won, and the current Oregon lawsuit, filed in February 2016.
- Learn about America's war on wolves
- Wolf myths & facts
- Support our work for wolves with a donation today
Celebrating 25 Years by Expanding Scope
2016 - In these harrowing 21st century times we need the wild, the solace of nature, more than ever before. And it has never been harder to find, or under broader attack.
Our nation’s maligned predator species—wolves, cougars, coyotes and more—play a vital role in our vanishing wild lands and in the health of our planet. They also have so much to teach us. For example, they do not reproduce more than the environment can support. Imagine if humans could follow suit!
Our mission has always been to protect native predators and to help people learn to coexist with them. But predators continue to be slaughtered at record levels in most states, all under the guise that we need to control their populations. Meanwhile, the best available science says the OPPOSITE is true!
There are places where wildlife is treated admirably. Over 80 countries and eight U.S. states have banned or severely restricted trapping. Costa Rica has banned hunting completely. California has not allowed cougar hunting for nearly 40 years. So there is reason for hope, particularly if enough of us demand our leaders start making bolder and wiser decisions. But they will only do that if they know enough of us insist on change.
In America's current wildlife management system, agency funding and commission appointments are primarily "sourced" from hunting and ranching interests, who are ignoring science and the public will. This means the killing of wildlife remains big business, plain and simple. And we have recently been alarmed to see relatively progressive states like Oregon taking giant steps backward.
So, in addition to our ongoing focus on reforming the federal Wildlife Services program, we need to demand reform of the outdated state wildlife management agencies. In 2016 we will kick these efforts into high gear. Stay tuned...
- See where we're headed: 2015 year-end newsletter
- See where we've been: 25th anniversary feature
- Support our work to end America's war on wildlife
Dec. 2015 - Wolves in Washington had reason to celebrate this holiday season, when a federal judge put a hold on plans to kill more wolves to reduce livestock predation. The judge found that the federal agency proposing the killings violated the law, which requires an Environmental Impact Statement. He also found their plan to be highly controversial and highly unlikely to work.
So Washington state is actually requiring that science be considered. This is fabulous news!
We're proud to have been co-plaintiffs in this important case, and we'd like to thank our friends John Mellgren and Andrea Rodgers at the Western Environmental Law Center for handling it so expertly. Read more in "Register Guard" editorial
We've been laboring for 25 years to reform "Wildlife Services," the rogue, misnamed, federal agency involved, and to expose America’s secret war on wildlife. We honestly believe we can say that no other organization has worked harder than us to take on this nasty Goliath. Our work for wolves and all native predators continues.
Americans "EXPOSED" to War on Wildlife
Dec. 2015 - Our primary focus for 2015 was getting as many people as possible to watch and share our whistle-blowing documentary, "EXPOSED: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife." This award-winning short film features three former federal agents and a Congressman blowing the whistle on Wildlife Services--a barbaric, wasteful and misnamed agency within the USDA--and expose the government’s secret war on wildlife on the taxpayer's dime.
We worked hard to spread the word around the country. On June 15 we took "EXPOSED" to Washington, D.C., and held a Congressional screening and panel discussion for an unprecedented standing-room-only crowd from both sides of the aisle. We also screened it in Oregon, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, Vermont, and New York. And we screened it a total of six times in Idaho, the Ground Zero of wildlife killing in America.
"EXPOSED" received a rave review from none other than Jane Goodall. It also won Best Short at the 2015 Animal Film Festival, and Best Wildlife Activism at the 2014 Wildlife Conservation Film Festival, the premier wildlife film festival in North America.
- Watch "EXPOSED"
- Meet the whistle-blowers
- Read rave reviews from Jane Goodall and more
- Donate to stop America's war on wildlife
Help Us Stop America's Wolf Slaughter
Between April 2011, when wolves lost federal endangered species protection, and April 2016, over 4,200 wolves were slaughtered in just five states. This is truly tragic, and we have been taking the government to task for their flawed and biased plan to further remove protections for the gray wolf across the nation.
We are not alone in our thinking. In 2014 an independent peer review panel rejected the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's delisting proposal, saying it is not supported by the best available science and would be premature.
Leaked documents reveal cover-up of animal abuse investigation in USDA's Wildlife Services agency
"Final" report withheld from both the public and Congress
In June 2013 we learned that—despite a specific request last November by Congressmen Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and John Campbell (R-CA) for the results of the investigation into allegations of animal cruelty by a federal trapper—officials at Wildlife Services withheld their "final" report from the public and Congress.
In fact, they told the Congressmen that the report did not exist. See Tweet from Congressman Campbell
In addition, the leaked documents show that after Wildlife Services exonerated the trapper from any wrongdoing, they started asking questions internally about specific violations he had actually committed.
For several years we've been the driving force behind a nationwide push for a Congressional oversight hearings on Wildlife Services and reform of the agency. We've also been working with Tom Knudson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from the Sacramento Bee, on an in-depth exposé of their out-of-control "predator control" program.
- Read about the USDA's war on wildlife
- Read letter from Congressmen asking Inspector General to make audit of Wildlife Services a top priority
- See the Sac Bee's full investigative series
Bobcat Rescued from Illegal Snare
In the course of our work we often receive calls about animals caught in traps. In 2012 we received a call about a bobcat caught in an illegally set strangling snare on private property. We immediately rushed to the location and found an adult male bobcat caught around the torso. He had been trapped for about 12 hours.
Fortunately we got there in time to save his life by restraining him and cutting him free. We were rewarded by his immediate race for freedom, and—amazingly—we caught all this on video. Our footage will be an important tool in bringing about essential trapping reform and we will be sharing it broadly.
- Read full story of bobcat's dramatic rescue
- Watch rescue video Part 1 | Part 2
- Learn how you can help us bring about nationwide trapping reform
Maggie's Death: A Crime
Read Maggie's story and watch our
video interview with Maggie's family,
the McCurtains. You'll see the lovely
suburban neighborhood where this
deadly trap was illegally placed by
Wildlife Services. If this could happen
here, it could happen anywhere.
Family's border collie strangled to death in trap near yard
In a pristine suburb of Portland, OR, a family's border collie named Maggie was killed by a deadly trap set in a community common area just 45 feet from their back yard. This is an area where kids play. This trap could have easily injured or killed a child.
No compliant warning signs were posted, nor were instructions for removing the trap or whom to call for help. The trap's placement violated both Oregon state law and the internal directives of Wildlife Services, the government agency responsible. This crime was committed with the help of your tax dollars.
The USDA's War on Wildlife
Your Tax Dollars at Work
The USDA Wildlife Services predator control program is the only federal program that kills native predators at the request of ranchers and state wildlife management agencies. They use indiscriminate methods that also endanger humans and pets. This program is a primary focus of our legislative work. About USDA Wildlife Services
Wildlife Patient Stories
From 1990-1995, Predator Defense operated a wildlife hospital and care center for injured and orphaned predator mammals.
Many native predators, like the baby bobcat orphan at left, were successfully released back into the wild.