AWI Scores Big Win for California Wildlife

Carnivores in California can breathe a little easier, after AWI and allies reached a settlement with the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program in November that will result in numerous protections for predators and other wild animals in the northern part of the state. The victory stems from a lawsuit filed in June by AWI and other organizations.

The settlement prohibits Wildlife Services from aerial gunning and any use of body-gripping traps such as strangling snares and steel-jaw leghold traps within wilderness areas. It also requires the program to analyze the environmental impacts of its killing activities throughout 16 California counties. Pending completion of that study, several measures must be implemented to protect wildlife in the region, including a ban on the use of M-44 cyanide devices, den fumigants, and lead ammunition. Wildlife Services must also take steps to protect California’s endangered gray wolves from being accidentally harmed or killed in traps set for other carnivores.

This is the latest in a series of victories to curb Wildlife Services’ lethal wildlife management activities in California. In August, a California court ruled that Monterey County’s renewal of its contract with Wildlife Services violated the California Environmental Quality Act. Last year, we reached a settlement with Mendocino County through which its own contract with Wildlife Services was terminated.

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