No action needed at this time.
AWI and allies filed suit against Mendocino County for renewing its contract in violation of state law and the settlement agreement entered into on July 28, 2015.
In April, in response to legal pressure from AWI and allies, Mendocino County officials agreed to suspend the renewal of the county's contract with the federal wildlife-killing program known as Wildlife Services, pending an environmental review that would include consideration of nonlethal predator control methods. (For more information about the Wildlife Services program in Mendocino County, see our press release. For more about the program's impact on wildlife nationwide, see our AWI Quarterly article.)
Although the Wildlife Service contract has been suspended pending the review, it is still under consideration. On June 16, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will vote on whether to renew, cancel, or modify the contract.
- Wildlife Services' methods of predator control (such as the use of steel-jaw leghold traps and sodium cyanide) can cause severe animal suffering—not only for wildlife, but also for domestic pets. These methods run contrary to a greater need for safe public lands and a healthy environment.
- Lethal methods often indiscriminately kill native carnivores who represent an important component of a thriving ecosystem, and do little to control livestock losses. A scientific approach that does not rely on outdated methods can address the situation while balancing the needs of people, animals, and the environment.
- By comparison, the Marin County Livestock and Wildlife Protection Program has used the funds once paid to federal trappers to help ranchers build fences, night corrals, and lambing sheds, and obtain guardian dogs, noisemakers, lights, and motion sensors, all at one-third the cost of predator control under the Wildlife Services program. Ranchers and farmers in the county praise the effectiveness of these non-lethal methods. Mendocino County should establish a similar program.