we can make it work — this time fer sure!
[Black Rock Desert in Nevada] in rugged terrain owned by the American public, a little-known federal agency called Wildlife Services has waged an eight-year war against [capitalist] predators to try to help an iconic Western big-game species: [economically disadvantaged] mule deer.
With rifles, snares and aerial gunning, employees [of a little-known federal agency called Wildlife Services] have killed 967 coyotes and 45 mountain lions at a cost of about $550,000.
…$700 to $1,000 an hour [to run the helicopter]
…Now such killing is coming under fire from scientists, former employees and others who say it often doesn’t work and can set off a chain reaction of unintended, often negative consequences.
Ya mean yer having trouble improving on the Free Market of Natural Selection? Shocking.
“There is a widespread perception that predators are the root of all evil and I’m tired of it,” said [ Kelley Stewart, a large-mammal ecologist at the University of Nevada, Reno]. “More often than not, if you have predation on a mule deer population, you’re going to have a healthier population.”
…In biological shorthand: Kill too many coyotes and you open a Pandora’s box of disease-carrying rodents, meadow-munching rabbits, bird-eating feral cats, and, over time, smarter, more abundant coyotes. You also can sentence the deer you are trying to help to slow death by starvation.
…Last year, something curious caught Stewart’s attention in Nevada: an email informing her that a mule deer had tested positive for the plague – a disease sparked by rodent outbreaks and potentially deadly to humans – in an area where Wildlife Services was killing predators.
There’s an outfit about five miles down the road. They constantly complain of their coyote troubles; preying on the new-born calves and chewing through water [plastic irrigation] lines to get water when there’s open water right there. The scion of the family shoots every one he sees. With glee. [ boy's a little ...yanno]
We have a stable population of coyotes — a pack of about five who kicks their young ‘uns out to earn their own every spring — well behaved ground-squirrel hunters. They never bothered the new-borns and could run among the cows unless they had young ‘uns when they’d lower their horns and the coyote would veer off, tail down and “Leaving, here, Boss” written all over ‘em.
“When they take that plane up, they kill every single coyote they can,” said Strader, the former Wildlife Services hunter who worked with aerial gunning crews in Nevada. “If they come back and say, ‘We only killed three coyotes,’ they are not very happy. If they come back and say, ‘Oh, we killed a hundred coyotes,’ they’re very happy.
“Some of the gunners are real good and kill coyotes every time. And other ones wound more than they kill,” Strader said. “Who wants to see an animal get crippled and run around with its leg blown off? I saw that a lot.”
Typical gov’t workers. [ boy's a little ...yanno]
In Nevada, scientists found that when Wildlife Services began killing coyotes to protect deer south of Ely in 2004, the average coyote litter size jumped from one pup to 3.5. In 2007, one coyote killed by a Wildlife Services hunter in Nevada had 13 fetuses in its uterus.
Just how coyotes prosper amid persecution remains a mystery. But many believe they benefit from better dining opportunities that emerge over time as coyotes are killed and rabbits and mice begin to multiply.
Federal officials decline to disclose the ranches on which Wildlife Services employees work. Such information “would cause a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” wrote Tonya Woods, director of the Freedom of Information & Privacy Act office for the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. “Also, disclosing this information will not shed any light on (federal) duties and responsibilities.”
Speaking of predators….