Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Living with the neighbors

I ran across this blog post the other day, regarding the number of non-invasive species killed by a division of the USDA.  The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (part of USDA) reports that in 2017, 2,307,122 animals were killed, with 987,047 being invasive species.  Invasive species included feral pigs (65,264), nutrias (2,094), and brown tree snakes (21,886).  As I've written before, non-native invasive species can have huge environmental and economic impacts; thus the removal of these species is often necessary to protect ecosystems.  A little more puzzling is the removal of native species.  Sure, some individuals become nuisances or prey on agricultural species, but others are harder to explain.  The non-invasive species included downy woodpeckers (21), beavers (23,644), eastern bluebirds (yes, the ones we set up all those nest boxes for, 4), bobcats (983), brown-headed cowbirds (285,657), coyotes (68,913), great blue herons (564), and eastern meadowlarks (1,474), ospreys (92).  For a full list, see the USDA website.

After reviewing the website, it seems to me that there are ways that we can reduce these lethal animal removals, but it's up to us.  If we don't request unnecessary animal removals, USDA personnel won't be required to kill animals.  So check out these helpful fact sheets that USDA has produced before you consider killing pest animals:

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