Many state wildlife officials have responded to the rise in coyote populations with the same cruel and scientifically unjustified mass killing tactics used to extirpate wolves, including cash bounties, killing contests and unlimited hunting quotas. Photo by Mircea Costina/Alamy Stock Photo
Scientists have long cautioned against the indiscriminate hunting of wolves because of the harmful effects it can have on the natural balance of an ecosystem. But this has not stopped states or the federal government from conducting a war on these beautiful native carnivores. The latest salvo is a proposed rule to strip Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the lower 48 states.
This week, a Washington Post article highlights the damage that the indiscriminate killing of wolves has already caused: the migration of coyote populations to new territories in the east, where they are quickly assuming the role of apex predator. The coyotes, the article says, surged from their original habitat in the West after government-sanctioned predator removal programs that virtually wiped out red and gray wolves.
Predictably, perhaps, but tragically, many state wildlife officials have responded to the rise in coyote populations with the same cruel and scientifically unjustified mass killing tactics used to extirpate wolves, including cash bounties, killing contests and unlimited hunting quotas.
But increasingly, states are beginning to admit that these programs do not work. Cruel killing contests have become especially controversial in this regard. In recent years, some states, including North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, have either taken steps to ban killing contests or they have publicly declared that predator control and mass killing of coyotes are ineffective. Georgia, which waged a vicious and pointless statewide killing contest on coyotes for years, found it was a failing approach and eventually turned to educational programs to raise public awareness.
Here at the Humane Society of the United States, we have exposed the gruesome realities behind killing contests, in which contestants vie to kill the most, or heaviest, anima …