Starting in 2014 Cascadia Wildlands will engage in a process to identify critical predator management shortcomings and bring change to the way state wildlife agencies perceive, treat and protect mammalian carnivores in the Pacific Northwest. We are undertaking this effort because the current models of aggressive control or benign neglect predicated on the premise that predators are nuisances rather than ecological assets is no longer scientifically defensible or socially acceptable.
Cascadia Wildlands view is that agencies must change the way they deal with predators and that begins with awareness and expansion of positive behaviors such as education programs to reduce human and livestock conflicts and an emphasis on non-lethal approaches. At the same negative behaviors like allowing or enabling locally disruptive predator derbies or other similar killing contests must be identified and addressed.
Cascadia Wildlands understands that this a big task and it involves agency change on a huge, perhaps unprecedented, scale. We also realize that there is a lot of cultural inertial to address, mainly the problematic and long-term relationships between wildlife agencies and agricultural, timber and trophy hunting interests. This is exemplified by membership on state wildlife commissions and also through the misguided notion that purchasing ammunition, firearms and hunting licenses grants preferential ownership rights to or authority over wildlife owned by all citizens.
Our ultimate vehicle for fomenting this change will be an agency by agency “report card” that rates wildlife agencies in Cascadia—giving good marks for those actions that tend to forward science-based approaches to predators and low marks for those actions that reinforce indefensible attitudes or conducts. Our hope is to release our first report card in late 2015 or early 2016.
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