Environmental Groups Launch Lawsuit against U.S. Dept. of Agriculture Over Idaho 'Killing Programs'

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Environmental conservation group Western Watersheds Project—with field offices in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona and California—filed a Notice of Intent to sue the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services on Sept. 8. 

With attorneys at Advocates for the West, WWP filed the notice to sue the agency for not properly analyzing the use of traps and poison, and its impacts on endangered species such as grizzly bears, lynx and bull trout. 

The lawsuit focuses primarily on Idaho, where the wildlife group claims no analysis of federal "killing programs" has been performed for more than a decade. It points specifically to recently added beaver dam destruction activities that have never gone through thorough review. 

A news release from the group states that in 2013, Wildlife Services killed more than 3,000 mammals in the state using aerial gunning, neck snares, foothold traps and poison—with the intention of protecting livestock and agricultural interests. The group said black bears, coyotes, mountain lions, bobcats and foxes have fallen victim in the "gruesome war on native wildlife." 

The Wildlife Services has a 60-day period to respond before the lawsuit is filed.