“Wildlife Services.” The name of this USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) agency has such a nice ring to it. It conjures up a picture of distressed animals being tended to by kindly government employees. “How may I serve you today?” a needy deer or bear is asked when it gets to the front of the Wildlife Services clinic waiting line.
The home page of the agency’s website tries to convey this sort of benign image. The reality is much different, as Laurel and I described on a “Coyotes don’t need killing by USDA Wildlife Services” page that we put up when a neighbor tried to get the agency to come into our neighborhood and protect unnatural feral cats by killing natural coyotes. The agency should be named “Wildlife Needless Destruction Services,” because that’s what they do.
An article in yesterday’s Oregonian about killing cougars reminded us of how useless and ill-informed Wildlife Services is. About two and a half years ago the agency’s director in Oregon, Dave Williams, and a local employee, Brian Thomas, became adept at not returning Laurel’s phone calls. She merely wanted to know why a federal agency was willing to trap, poison, or shoot coyotes because they were killing feral cats.
Figuring that Wildlife Services would be happy to get some publicity about the “valuable” services they provide, Laurel told Williams and Thomas that a newspaper reporter was prepared to cover their coyote killing/feral cat protecting. I guess Wildlife Services is publicity-shy, because they never came out to our neighborhood.
But Wildlife Services is killing lots of wildlife elsewhere. In 2003 this report says that about 76,000 coyotes, 2,500 bobcats, 4,800 foxes, 500 badgers, 460 cougars, 330 bears, and 190 wolves were killed. What a marvelous waste of taxpayer money.
It’s estimated that 2.7% of cattle and calf losses are due to predation and 97.3% to other causes. Plus, shouldn’t ranchers be protecting their own livestock? Why is a government agency killing coyotes on a ranch for free when there isn’t enough money for Medicaid to protect children against diseases?
And killing coyotes just results in more coyotes. As I wrote about before, some people have the anthropomorphic attitude that coyotes go up to the body of Joe Coyote, shot by an angry sheep owner, and say, “Ooops. We've got to get out of this neighborhood. Look at what happened to good ol' Joe.” Actually, research suggests that the more likely inner dialogue is, “Oh boy, Joe is finally out of the way. Now we can all move up a level toward the Alpha Coyote status we've been hankering for.” At least, this is the male attitude. The females think, “Oh my, I've got to have more coyote babies now to keep our numbers up. Better get breeding.”
Similarly, a chart accompanying the Oregonian article shows that the number of cougars killed in Oregon has risen from 229 in 1992 to 408 in 2005. Yet, “State wildlife managers say Oregon is home to 5,000 to 6,000 cougars, nearly twice as many as a decade ago, despite increased hunting in that time.”
Where’s the problem? There hasn’t been a single cougar attack on a human in Oregon. Yet, strangely, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is advising people not to hike alone. People attack other people in Oregon infinitely more often than cougars attack people (in my admittedly mathematically-challenged mind, the ratio of 0 to any other number is infinite). So why aren’t we being advised to never walk along the sidewalk alone, or never be in a parking lot alone?
Expanding on my earlier thesis that humans are irrationally afraid of cougars because these animals are tougher than us in a fair fight, I’d add that what has been called the “Fuck it or kill it (FIKI)” hormone (namely, testosterone) almost certainly is at play here also. Today Laurel and I were appalled, but not surprised, to see a photo of a man with a recently-killed 31 point buck on the back page of the Statesman-Journal’s sports section.
The man called the killing a “once in a lifetime deal.” If he thinks that this is one of his great accomplishments in life, that’s pathetic. I understand the pressure of primal “FIKI” urges, but being a human animal means something more than merely being an animal. We should be able to look upon a noble fellow creature, such as a 31 point buck, without feeling the urge to do anything else.
Just look. If it's a danger, then deal with it. If it isn't, and such will almost always be the case, then leave it alone.
Those who look upon other animals like cougars and coyotes simply as a life that deserves to be snuffed out are falling prey to their own atavistic FIKI selves. They should be worrying about what’s killing their own humanity.
well i don't know where to start. i was trying to find info on another topic, when unfortanetly found this site. i'm not real sure as to why i even bother to mail you. you wont ever change my mind and i'll probably never change your opinion. you are obviously a very opinionated and stubborn person. lets just say book smart, self taught.
looked at your figures on animals killed by wildlife services and tax dollars wasted, june 6 2005. kinda of funny your numbers really come close to actual figures i got also, only all but about ten of those were killed by wildlife services. for time and space i'm only going to talk cougar kills, because you only get further from the truth on the other species. in this particular article you talk about "where is the problem?" as you obviously pointed out cougar numbers continue to rise even with kills going up, answer there is no more hunting with hounds. sounds like the cougars are doing good despite the state selling 34,000 tags. i hope your not going to still insist that wildlife services killed all those and hey just how much of your tax dollars do you think was yours in all of this? how many hunting foundations do you belong to? how many hours a year do you spend on habitat restoration? a large percent of money spent on tags goes back into wildlife services. if you didnt buy a hunting license you can cut your bitching in half, for now!
now i'm going to give you the benefit of doubt when you say 2.7% livestock are actually maulled or killed. but growing up in a very rural area i would have to disagree and i'm not going to go into the detail how bad that effects the income on a small time rancher. i have also saw the 9 1/2' tall fences that were built by the homesteaders in my area. (probably more than a 2.7% problem back before cougars were being more regulated by wildlife services.) nobody needs to worry about cougar attacks either huh? when my friend and i were 10 yrs. of age he had his dog attacked and killed by a cougar not more than 12' away from him. but that was 21 yrs ago, with a growing number of cougars i'm sure my kids will have nothing to worry about!
you are a very narrowed minded person and not nearly as smart as you think you are. you just try to sell your beliefs and opinions to anybody that will buy into it. you dont sound much different than the christians you smash on do you? you say being gay is natural and compare us to the animal kingdom, you say we are animals! well, if i'm an animal i'm on top of the food chain mother fucker and hunting is an animal instinct! so let me use a qoute you said in the wildlife article. "WHERES THE PROBLEM"
i personally would rather eat wild game than steroid infected farm animals any day of the week. same goes with fruit and veggies, but people like yourselves apparantly refuse to understand. bottom line killing animals is killing animals, but you probably don't own anything leather and are vegetarian, your veggies you eat didn't take away wildlife refuge where they were farmed, or your house, and i'm sure its not made of wood either.
in short i do appreciate your opinion and take on these issues, how many other animals do you know can do this?
hope you appreciated my take on the matter.
Posted by: derek lisherness | December 12, 2005 at 11:52 PM