This Government Program's Job Is to Kill Wildlife
An investigation in Harper’s Magazine this month documents indiscriminate and inhumane methods used to control predators on public lands in the West.
Wildlife Services—ever heard of it? No, not the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That’s something different. The Fish and Wildlife Service is part of the Department of the Interior, charged with enforcing wildlife laws, restoring habitat, and protecting fish, plants, and animals. Wildlife Services isn’t your state fish and game commission, either, which issues hunting and fishing licenses and manages local wildlife.
Wildlife Services is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and it specializes in killing wild animals that threaten livestock—especially predators such as coyotes, wolves, and cougars. Outside the ranching community, few have heard of Wildlife Services.
Since 2000, the agency has killed at least two million mammals and 15 million birds. Although it’s