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USA: Research Review Finds that Weak Science has Bolstered the U.S. Government’s Predator-Control Practices.


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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, September 1, 2016 

Camilla Fox, Executive Director, Project Coyote – 415.690.0338; 

Adrian Treves, Science Advisor, Project Coyote  608.890.1450; treves@wisc.edu

Research Review Finds that Weak Science has Bolstered the U.S. Government’s Predator-Control Practices

Peer Reviewed Journal Article Vindicates Wildlife Advocates’ Claims against Lethal Predator Management

MILL VALLEY, Calif. Sept. 1, 2016 – From their review of the prevailing research into lethal and non-lethal predator control practices in North America and Europe, an international trio of environmental scientists has determined that the science behind the reviewed research is not very scientific. In fact, the authors of the review- titled “Predator Control Should Not be a Shot in the Dark”- call for a moratorium on lethal predator control policies until researchers adopt higher testing standards. The new findings are being hailed by wildlife conservation groups like Project Coyote, which have questioned traditional predator management policies and practices as carried out by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services program. 

The authors of the peer-reviewed article, which appears in today’s edition of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a journal published by the Ecological Society of America, are Dr. Adrian Treves, a Harvard-trained associate professor at the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison; Dr. Miha Krofel, a assistant professor & wildlife researcher in the Department of Forestry at the University of Ljubljana in Ljubljana, Slovenia; and Jeannine McManus, a graduate student at the School of  Animal Plants and Sciences at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa.

With little rigorous, scientific testing available, farmers and ranchers have historically relied upon taxpayer subsidized lethal predator control programs to protect their livestock. The authors’ research findings show that scientific studies that have proliferated since the 1970s have disproportionately supported lethal methods of predator management. In an effort to systematically evaluate the totality of the scientific research on lethal versus non-lethal predator management, the reviewers screened all of the relevant research – 500 discrete projects in all. Of those, only two experiments met the gold standard for reliability, as defined by the authors of the review. For their assessment, the reviewers adopted the gold standard currently in force for biomedical research, which requires random assignment to treatment and to control groups. This provides a guarantee against bias and increases the opportunity for strong inference – an essential component of good science. 

“We expect backlash from those agencies and individuals who benefit from the status quo,” said Adrian Treves, Project Coyote Science Advisory Board Member and lead co-author of the paper. “Independent scientists serve the broad public interest when they scrutinize the science used to promote government policies.”

The authors point out that it is the research they rejected for non-random assignment, poor methods and other design flaws that has been used by government agencies to make lethal management policy. In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services (USDA WS) program exterminated 796 bobcats, 322 wolves, 580 black bears, 305 cougars, 1,186 red foxes, and 61,702 coyotes. Wildlife Services reports that across the United States, it spent about $127 million in fiscal year 2014 to kill 2.7 million animals, including 322 wolves.  For decades, wildlife conservationists and scientists have condemned the indiscriminate and lethal approach to predator management as carried out by state wildlife agencies and the USDA WS. However, the agencies have justified their actions by claiming that science supports the killing of hundreds of thousands of predators each year, largely at the behest of ranchers and agribusiness. 

“This review shows that state and federal agencies are relying on bad science and bad research to justify their use of lethal predator control programs,” said Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote, a national non-profit organization that aims to reform predator management and promote coexistence between people and native carnivores. “We have just received another piece of evidence that killing predators is unjustified ethically, economically and certainly ecologically.”

Read the journal article here

Watch a video about the article findings here.

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Thailand: Torkal and Cirrus – Just 2 of the New Residents at Soi Dogs.


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Dear Mark,



Above – Torkal on arrival at Soi.

Torkal is just one example of the animals you can read about on our Facebook page.

At the age of about 6 years old, he was found blind and living on the streets.

Who knows how he managed to get by for so long?

Click here to be taken to our Facebook Page and join the millions of supporters who help animals like him every day.

Because of people like you, we were able to take Torkal in.

He is now learning to trust after living for years in fear.

He is adjusting to his new life and getting used to the smells of his surroundings. By liking our Facebook page, you can read about more animals like him and help those who need you the most.



Now settling in to his new home and constant care

We also share the stories of many of the cats helped by people like you, such as Cirrus, who was found with a horrendous wound on his eye. It was seriously infected and it was clear that Cirrus was in severe agony when we found him. Sadly, it was too late to save his eye and it had to be removed.



Cirrus was featured on our Facebook page, and thanks to people like you, he has now been adopted and will leave shortly for his new home.  

By simply clicking ‘like’ on our page, you will hear about many of the rescue cases here at the shelter and will be kept up to date with how your support is saving the lives of vulnerable animals across Thailand. Simply click here to join us on Facebook now.


Thank you for everything you have already done to help the dogs and cats of Thailand.

Kind Regards,

John Dalley
Soi Dog Foundation