Mammalian Predator Control in the United States

WHEREAS the American Society of Mammalogists recognizes that interactions between humans and wildlife sometimes require intervention and control of mammalian predators, and that state and federal agencies are under pressure to implement control programs; and

WHEREAS appreciation of mammalian predators by the general public has greatly increased as a result of the activities of scientists and wildlife professionals, and native predators are now recognized as critical components of healthy ecosystems; and

WHEREAS common methods of predator control are often indiscriminant, preemptive, lethal measures, particularly in relation to state and federally funded livestock protection programs; result in the documented killing by a single agency of in excess of one hundred thousand mammalian predators annually; and often result in the needless killing of animals that are not contributing to the problem, as well as many non-target species; and

WHEREAS alternative methods to prevent or mitigate damage to livestock by mammalian predators are not receiving adequate consideration for implementation in the operation of predator control programs; and

WHEREAS the protection of predatory mammals has been one of the earliest and most prolonged conservation efforts of the American Society of Mammalogists;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Society of Mammalogists, meeting at the University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, on 20-24 June 1999, calls on the United States Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services Program and other federal and state agencies to 1) critically review their methods for control of mammalian predators in light of the principles and practices of current wildlife management science and conservation biology that recognize the important ecological value of native mammalian predators, some of which are threatened by extinction, 2) cease indiscriminant, preemptive, lethal control programs on federal, state, and private lands, 3) continue research into alternative methods of predator control and better implement successful methods into field operations, and 4) revise their programs to focus on the implementation of non-lethal control strategies, compensatory measures, and sound animal husbandry techniques, that could be supplemented by targeted, lethal control methods when necessary.