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USDA Wildlife Services releases Fiscal Year 2021 data

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

On March 22, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) wildlife damage management program, Wildlife Services (WS), posted its annual Program Data Reports (PDR) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. The reports are available on the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) webpage, representing the 26th year WS has shared this information about its wildlife damage management activities. 

In FY 2021, APHIS encountered about 26.6 million animals while responding to calls for assistance and dispersed nearly 25 million wildlife from urban, rural and other settings where they were causing damage. APHIS dispersed 93 percent of the animals encountered. Not all conflicts can be resolved with nonlethal methods alone. Of all wildlife encountered, WS lethally removed 6.6 percent or approximately 1.76 million, in targeted areas to reduce damage. Invasive species accounted for 77 percent (1,352,838) and native species 23 percent (404,565) of the wildlife lethally removed.  

Of the wildlife lethally removed, 79 percent were either an invasive species or a species listed on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Depredation Order for blackbirds, cowbirds, crows, grackles and magpies, due to the damage they cause.

The invasive species removed included more than 15,000 brown tree snakes in Guam, 143,905 feral swine and 1,028,650 European starlings.

Of native wildlife lethally removed, 64,131 were coyotes. Coyotes reportedly kill more than 300,000 head of livestock annually and injure even more.

Where WS uses lethal control, APHIS works to make full use of the resource which includes the donation of 188 tons of goose, deer, elk and other meat – more than one million servings of protein – for people in need. 

As a federal agency with public trust responsibilities to manage wildlife for present and future generations, APHIS complies with all federal and state laws, such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Migratory Bird Treaty Act and Endangered Species Act, as well as executive orders pertaining to invasive species management. APHIS conducts careful environmental review of all agency actions through a NEPA process including public involvement.

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