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TAKE LOCAL ACTION: Not a Refuge For All Wildlife: Coyotes Targeted Again on Mon
12 May 2002
TAKE LOCAL ACTION: Not a Refuge For All Wildlife: Coyotes Targeted Again on Monomoy
--please take a few moments to make phone calls to stop this ridiculous action from happening-----

Not a Refuge For All Wildlife: Coyotes Targeted Again on Monomoy

For the third year in a row, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the agency that oversees National Wildlife Refuges, has commissioned a U.S. Department of Agriculture sharpshooter to kill coyotes on Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge. This time, the sharpshooter killed a litter of nine pups found in their den on South Monomoy Island; a tenth pup died in captivity shortly thereafter. The parents were seen near the den and, although they eluded the sharpshooter, they may now be shot on sight by refuge employees who are attempting to boost population sizes of birds on the island.

Refusing to consider alternatives to their lethal predator control methods, each year refuge officials wait until a pair of coyotes produces a litter of pups. The sharpshooter then kills the pups and attempts to kill the parents and any other adults. Refuge officials justify this cruel practice by reasoning that they can be relatively sure that no other reproductive coyotes will establish a territory on the island in the current season.

The roseate tern, an endangered species, nests with the more abundant common tern on Monomoy. The federally threatened piping plover also nests on the island. Habitat loss is the underlying problem threatening both roseate terns and piping plovers. Research indicates that killing predators to protect ground-nesting birds has never produced more than a temporary benefit for the birds. Nevertheless, the USFWS, in an exercise in futility, is making coyotes the scapegoat for a much larger problem.

The HSUS offered in 2000 to help pay for fencing to protect the federally protected birds from coyotes and other nest predators. However, the USFWS rejected our assistance, claiming that the cost is still prohibitive, and has not attempted to erect predator exclusion fencing. This inexplicable refusal by USFWS to consider a humane, non-lethal, and long-term solution has inspired local outrage. In fact, several past and current local commissioners have spoken out against these practices. Local activists in Chatham, Massachusetts, as well as scientists have argued that a refuge should provide sanctuary for all wildlife and a naturally functioning ecosystem that includes both predators and prey.

What You Can Do

Call and/or write your U.S. Representative and Senators and ask them to express their opposition to the killing of the coyote pups on Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge and to attempt non-lethal control methods.

Find your senator/ representative here:

The press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Jessica Almy: (508) 362-0111


CHATHAM, MA – A refuge-commissioned sharpshooter killed nine coyote pups, and displaced a tenth, Tuesday on South Monomoy Island. The last pup died in captivity on Monomoy. The National Wildlife Refuge has been the site of coyote killing since 1999, when a federal agent first killed a female coyote. The refuge has been responsible for the deaths of 34 coyotes since that time.
This year’s slaughter and those before it were commissioned to protect federally endangered roseate terns and federally threatened piping plovers. In 2001, the refuge reported a total of six pairs of roseate terns and 28 pairs of piping plovers.
“Monomoy is no refuge for wildlife,” said Jessica Almy of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). “This inhumane killing, when the refuge deliberately waits for the birth of pups and then kills the entire family, lies beyond logic.”
In addition to killing mammalian predators, the wildlife refuge killed 1,717 gulls in 1996 by feeding the birds poisoned sandwiches. Of those, 529 herring gulls and 67 great black-backed gulls slowly died of poisoning on the mainland, often in people’s yards, after ingesting the bait.
In 1999, The HSUS offered to buy fencing to protect bird colonies, but this offer was declined by refuge officials.


The HSUS Cape Wildlife Center
185 Meadow Lane
West Barnstable, MA 02668 Promoting the Protection of All Animals
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