The Bush administration proposed last week to relax restrictions on aerial gunning and poisoning of "problem" wildlife such as coyotes, foxes, mountain lions and wolves in designated Wilderness areas and Research Natural Areas on Forest Service land. Wilderness and Research Natural Areas are the two most protective land management classifications the Forest Service has, and both were formerly off-limits to predator control programs except in limited circumstances.
One has only to look at the success of Yellowstone National Park wolf recovery to understand the importance of predators in the ecosystem. The return of wolves has sparked a series of ecological responses that have significantly increased the richness of wildlife and improved the conditions of streams and rivers in the park. But apparently, the Bush administration hasn't noticed. Within wilderness and research natural areas, it proposes to loosen current restrictions on shooting predators from aircraft, use of motorized equipment, and poisons including M-44 cyanide guns.
Congress and the American people have ordained special status to wilderness and research natural areas where nature is left to evolve naturally except when human life is threatened. But this proposal goes beyond targeting "a problem individual" animal to removing an entire "local population." The Forest Service's proposed rule would establish control of bear, cougars, fox, and wolves as an "objective" in these areas.
Call us crazy, but Conservation Northwest doesn't think cyanide guns or aerial gunning of wildlife belongs in our last wild forests.
Please send a message to the Forest Service below by Monday, August 7, 2006. Personalizing the subject line and the first paragraph in particular lends power to your message. Or contact the Forest Service directly:
Forest Service, USDA
Attn: Director, Wilderness and Wild and Scenic Rivers Resources
201 14th Street, SW., Washington DC 20250
PDM [at] fs.fed.us
Fax: (202) 205-1145