Groups protest Utah BLM predator control program

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Groups Protest Proposal to Control Predators

March 7, 2002

Salt Lake Tribune
 
   A coalition of wildlife groups is protesting a federal plan that would kill predators if necessary to ensure the survival of bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope it hopes to re-introduce into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.

   The Bureau of Land Management environmental assessment for the reintroduction program acknowledges that predators are part of the natural process, but "insists that protective measures are sometimes needed to allow the newly transplanted animals and their young time to become established."

   If necessary to the success of the project, which was approved last month, the BLM would work with Utah Department of Natural Resources employees to kill coyotes, mountain lions and fox.

   According to the study, any environmental imbalances caused by predator control would return to normal after the herds are established.

   The wildlife protection coalition, which includes Forest Guardians, Rocky Mountain Animal Defense, Great Plains Restoration Council and The Fund for Animals, say they will appeal the decision within the U. S. Department of Interior because eliminating predators has unintended biological consequences and would violate the intent of the law that created the monument.

   "If the BLM is truly concerned about the survival of native wildlife, it is entirely inappropriate to address it by killing other native wildlife," said Kirsten Stade, a biologist for Forest Guardians. "It's a waste of taxpayer money, and it has been shown to be ineffective. Predator populations rebound."

   -- Glen Warchol
 


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