A Timeline of Accomplishments & Key Events
EXPOSING & ENDING CRUELTY
In 2017, Project Coyote launched its documentary film, KILLING GAMES ~ Wildlife In The Crosshairs, a groundbreaking exposé selected by two prominent wildlife film festivals to be part of their tour circuits—Jackson Hole Wildlife Film Festival’s WILD On Tour and Wild & Scenic Film Festival’s Wild & Scenic On Tour. Via these round-the-world touring festivals, the film will reach a global audience, inspiring viewers to help bring an end to brutal killing contests where wild animals become living targets.
ADVANCING PREDATOR PROTECTION
In a decisive victory for wildlife, a San Francisco federal court approved a settlement requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services to implement numerous protections for wildlife in Northern California, including a ban on traps and aerial gunning in designated “wilderness areas.” The settlement—in response to a lawsuit filed by Project Coyote and allies—also requires Wildlife Services to analyze the environmental impacts of its killing of coyotes, bobcats, bears, mountain lions, and other wildlife in 16 Northern California counties.
CHAMPIONING BEST SCIENCE
Members of Project Coyote’s Science Advisory Board spearheaded the compilation of a special edition dedicated to predator control for the February 2017 issue of the Journal of Mammalogy. The special edition presents information challenging traditional predator management as practiced by state and federal wildlife management agencies in the U.S. Articles in this issue highlight the negative effects of lethal control on wolves in Idaho, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as dingoes in Australia, and document the growing intolerance for lethal and indiscriminate predator control.
Project Coyote pressed the City of Arcadia, California, to stop indiscriminate coyote trapping, and to instead adopt a coyote management plan that emphasizes public education and coexistence. Project Coyote also assisted two other Southern California cities—West Hollywood and Montebello—in adopting proactive coyote coexistence plans and education programs.
Project Coyote Representative John Maguranis was hired by the state of Massachusetts to offer the first ever state-required course for Animal Control Officers that focuses on coyote ecology, behavior, and non-lethal response protocols.
The City of San Francisco declared that “coexistence” will define its living with wildlife ethos, with Project Coyote helping to implement the city’s vision.
Project Coyote representatives provided Coexisting with Coyotes/Our Wild Neighbors presentations, coyote hazing workshops, and community support in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Oregon, Arizona, North Carolina, Washington DC, Virginia, Florida, Vermont, California, Nevada, Colorado, Washington, and New Mexico.
The Marin Coyote Coalition, which includes Project Coyote, provided a series of Coexisting with Coyotes presentations, signage, and public outreach throughout the county.
Partnering with Saskatoon—the largest city in Saskatchewan, Canada—Project Coyote helped develop signage and educational outreach.
Project Coyote representatives conducted more than 40 presentations in the U.S. about living with coyotes and other native carnivores, reaching 8,000+ people.
With leadership from New Mexico State Senators Jeff Steinborn (D-Doña Ana) and Mark Moores (R-Bernalillo) and Representative Matthew McQueen (D-District 50), as well as energetic assistance from our New Mexico supporters in the form of phone calls, letters, and testimony, SB 268—which would have banned coyote killing contests statewide—passed in the Senate with bipartisan support but failed to gain a hearing in the House during the 2017 legislative session. With our New Mexico Wildlife Coalition partners, we are working to successfully rejuvenate the bill in the next legislative session in 2019 to ensure that New Mexico outlaws coyote killing contests.
Project Coyote and allies won a settlement against Idaho’s Bureau of Land Management that will ensure public notice of any wildlife killing contests on BLM-managed public lands near Salmon, Idaho.
With the help of volunteer Jana Hofeditz and other wildlife advocates, Project Coyote succeeded in stopping two coyote killing contests in Nevada—one in Battle Mountain and one in Lemmon Valley. Our strategic grassroots campaign included targeted media coverage and pressure on event organizers and sponsors.
Project Coyote and the Humane Society of the United States joined forces to create a broad-based National Coalition to Ban Wildlife Killing Contests.
Project Coyote and allies continued to challenge cruel and ineffective state and federal predator management programs:
- Filed a lawsuit resulting in the California Superior Court ruling that Monterey County’s contract with the USDA’s Wildlife Services program for killing and relocating native predators violates state law.
- Joined in suing the California Fish and Game Commission and the Department of Fish and Wildlife for improperly managing and illegally subsidizing commercial and recreational trapping.
- Delivered testimony and close to 50,000 letters and signatures to the California Fish and Game Commission supporting a formal petition to ban lethal trapping and night-time hunting in the state’s wolf recovery zone.
Project Coyote and allies advanced regional and national efforts to ban predator poisons and rodenticides:
- Successfully challenged the use of M-44 “cyanide bombs” by the USDA’s Wildlife Services in Idaho.
- Petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to outlaw M-44 sodium cyanide devices, which cause agonizing deaths for thousands of animals every year.
- Successfully lobbied for municipal resolutions against the use of deadly rodenticides.
- Pressed for passage of AB 1687 in California to expand prohibitions on pesticides that pose a danger to wildlife.
Project Coyote provided Ranching with Wildlife workshops and presentations to multiple communities across the country. Outreach included training in the use of innovative non-lethal predator devices such as Foxlights and E-Shepherd Collars.
Project Coyote Science Advisory Board member David Parsons submitted comprehensive comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding its disastrous draft recovery plan for Mexican gray wolves.
Through various Earth Day events and presentations around the country, Project Coyote representatives and volunteers relayed our message of compassionate coexistence and reiterated the essential role of apex predators in maintaining ecological integrity and biological diversity.
Project Coyote Science Advisory Board member George Wuerthner was named Grassroots Activist of 2017 by the Fund for Wild Nature. The award highlights George’s work to uncover the damaging effects of human activity on wild nature and his successful wildlands restoration efforts.
Project Coyote recognized and honored the Fairfax Manor Elementary School’s Green Team and its teacher Laura Honda for student letters, artwork, and testimony before the California Fish and Game Commission in support of successful efforts to ban bobcat trapping, restrict predator killing contests, and afford protections for wolves returning to California.
Project Coyote educator Gina Farr provided Ask Me About Coyotes presentations and support to educators and students throughout Marin County.
In March of 2016 Project Coyote, Fibershed and the County of Marin co-sponsored the first Ranching with Wildlife Workshop, designed to share wisdom and build knowledge around non-lethal approaches to protecting livestock from predators. With close to 100 attendees, presentations addressed innovative and traditional predator deterrents such as Foxlights and E-Collars, livestock guard animals, effective fencing, and the science behind predator management.
Project Coyote presented its first annual Coyote Warrior Award this year, honoring Roger Hopping of Adin, California. Project Coyote created the award to recognize the courage and compassion of everyday heroes who are unwavering in their commitment to protect wildlife. Read more about Roger here.
Project Coyote joined allies in filing a lawsuit challenging USDA Wildlife Services’ authority to kill any of the approximately 81 remaining gray wolves in Oregon. The lawsuit contends that the federal agency failed to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act, which requires that Wildlife Services publicly account for its rejection of non lethal, humane wildlife management.
Project Coyote and allies settled a lawsuit brought in 2014 against Mendocino County for its ill-considered wildlife management contract with Wildlife Services. The settlement requires that Mendocino County suspend its contract with Wildlife Services until the County has completed a detailed Environmental Impact Report in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act that considers non-lethal alternatives for reducing livestock-predator conflicts.
Project Coyote joined with allies to file a lawsuit challenging Monterey County’s renewal of its predator management contract with Wildlife Services. The lawsuit contends that Monterey County’s renewal of the contract violates the California Environmental Quality Act, In October, The County’s motion to have the case dismissed because it was filed too late and against the wrong parties was rejected by the California Superior Court. Our case is moving forward.
Project Coyote and the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to amend state regulations to ban night-time hunting and lethal trapping within the range of the gray wolf, a species protected by both the federal and California Endangered Species Acts. The Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are reviewing the petition for consideration in 2017.
Project Coyote and the Center for Biological Diversity petitioned the California Fish and Game Commission to amend state regulations to raise commercial trapping license fees to the levels necessary for full recovery of the administrative and implementation costs of the trapping program, in compliance with state law. In the event that program costs are determined unlikely to be fully recovered by license fee revenue, petitioners request that the State ban commercial trapping of fur-bearing and nongame mammals. The Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife are reviewing the petition for consideration in 2017.
When the issue of wildlife killing contests was up for debate in August by the Nevada State Board of Wildlife Commissioners, Project Coyote delivered a letter to the Board signed by 50 prominent scientists, including Project Coyote’s Science Advisory Board members, expressing unified support for a state prohibition of killing contests, derbies and tournaments.
Testifying before the New Hampshire Fish and Game Commission, Project Coyote’s New Hampshire and Vermont Representative Chris Schadler and allies convinced the Commission to withdraw a proposal that would have allowed hunting, trapping, baiting and hounding of bobcats, a species that had been protected in the state since 1989. Read more here.
Project Coyote representatives and supporters testified at a Wolf Conservation Planning meeting in Sacramento, California to press for a science-based approach to wolf recovery in California, and for a plan that recognizes the ecological importance of these apex predators.
Project Coyote Science Advisory Board member George Wuerthner’s Op-ed in the Spokesman-Review condemned Washington State’s slaughter of native wolves on national forest lands, after ranchers there lost livestock to wolves living in a den that abutted ranch land–calling into question the role of special interests in public land policy.
Science Advisory Board members, Jeremy Bruskotter, Bob Crabtree, David Parsons, Michael Soulé, and Adrian Treves made presentations at the North American Congress for Conservation Biology Conference focusing on carnivore conservation, the mismanagement of predators by state and federal wildlife agencies, and how the ecological sciences can be better coupled with the social sciences to address human-predator conflicts.
On Endangered Species Day (May 19th), Project Coyote collaborated with the Union of Concerned Scientists in submitting a petition signed by nearly 1,000 U.S. scientists and scholars to U.S. Interior Secretary Jewell and Commerce Secretary Pritzker, calling for renewed allegiance to the 240-year tradition of our nation’s wildlife trust, and the reestablishment of the independent scientific community as the final arbiters of the best available science by which to recover our endangered species and threatened ecosystems. In September, the the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released an update to its peer review policy for endangered species listings. While the provisions could be stronger, the new policy takes a step forward in safeguarding the science that informs endangered species listing decisions, providing more robust and transparent peer-review at the agency.
The results of a peer-reviewed study conducted by Project Coyote Science Advisory Board member Adrian Treves and international colleagues convincingly challenge the legitimacy of the science on which USDA Wildlife Services bases its predator control practices. The study has received widespread attention, including coverage in National Geographic and the Sunday Review section of the New York Times.
Project Coyote’s Southern California Representative Randi Feilich assisted the city of Los Angeles to effectively and humanely manage its coyote population by supporting recommendations made by the city’s General Manager and its Department of Animal Services to adopt a proactive coyote coexistence plan that emphasizes public education and outreach. In October, the city’s Commission on Personnel and Animal Welfare endorsed the comprehensive public education plan as part of its maintenance of non lethal coyote management.
As part of an alliance with the city of San Francisco’s Animal Care and Control, its Parks and Recreation Department and a local nonprofit, SF Dog, Project Coyote developed quick-read materials to hang on doors and post at trailheads and park entrances with tips for coexisting peacefully with coyotes. The materials offer SF residents and visitors advice on how to handle coyote encounters, and provide instructions for accessing downloadable materials and information from Project Coyote’s website. Watch our joint PSA here.
Project Coyote Representatives provided more than 70 presentations across the country about living with coyotes and other native carnivores. Discussions covered such topics as wildlife behavior, the value of predators to healthy ecosystems, and best practices for living safely and peacefully with our wild neighbors. Project Coyote reached more than 10,000 people with our message of compassionate coexistence.
As part of Project Coyote’s ongoing effort to reach people with our message of peaceful coexistence with coyotes and other urban wildlife, we always look for new avenues to reach wider audiences. Our full-page Be Coyote Aware Flyer was included in San Francisco Voter Information Pamphlets for the November 8, 2016 election, reaching more than 450,000 voters.
In a major victory for wildlife, the California Fish and Game Commission votes to end the trapping of bobcats, becoming the first state in the nation to do so. Prior to the commission’s vote, Project Coyote hand-delivered a petition with nearly 30,000 signatures supporting the ban and helped lead and galvanize a statewide grassroots campaign for the ban. Watch and Read more.
Project Coyote leads a successful campaign to close the loopholes on wildlife killing contests targeting coyotes, bobcats, foxes and other species in California. Project Coyote’s petition to the California Fish and Game Commission (CAFGC) compels the Commission to prohibit prizes and inducements for such contests. The CAFGC voted 4 to 1 on December 3, 2014 making it unlawful to offer any prize or other inducement as a reward for the taking of any non-game mammal or furbearer in an individual contest, tournament, or derby setting a precedent for the rest of the nation. Read more.
Project Coyote joins allies in filing a lawsuit in Idaho challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) decision to formally permit a competitive predator-hunting derby on public lands targeting wolves, coyotes, foxes, bobcats and other wildlife. Project Coyote helps galvanize a grassroots effort to flood the BLM with letters in opposition to the contest during a public comment period. In response, the BLM cancels the permit authorizing the “predator derby” on more than 3 million acres of public lands near Salmon, Idaho. Read more.
Through hard-fought litigation, Project Coyote and the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) successfully halt the annual JMK Coyote Hunting Contest in Harney County, Oregon, protecting hundreds of coyotes from a cruel and barbaric death. Read more.
Wolf advocates make history persuading the California Fish and Game Commission to list wolves under the California Endangered Species Act. Read more.
Project Coyote’s Stacey Evans and Becky Pomponio work with allies and legislators to push for a ban on penning — the practice of confining coyotes and foxes in fenced enclosures to be chased and mauled by packs of dogs for “sport” (to train hunting dogs) — in Virginia. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signs a bill (SB 42) that will restrict and ultimately phase out state-licensed foxhound training preserves. Read more.
Project Coyote announces partnership with the town of Superior, Colorado and the launch of a model Coyote Coexistence Plan produced by Project Coyote that fosters human-coyote coexistence in a suburban context. Read more.
Project Coyote supports California’s ban of direct-to-consumer sale of some of the most dangerous rat poisons that endanger at least 25 wild species in California, including mountain lions, coyotes, bobcats, hawks, endangered San Joaquin kit foxes and northern spotted owls.
Following testimony by Project Coyote’s Randi Feilich, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously (14-0) in support of an ordinance that bans snares and other body-gripping traps citywide. Read more.
With support from the National Science Foundation, Project Coyote helps organize a national Large Carnivore Working Group aimed at identifying research needs, data gaps and barriers to coexistence between people, livestock and wildlife. The working group, which includes ten members of Project Coyote’s Science Advisory Board and staff, gathers in Yellowstone National Park for its first meeting in October, 2014.
Project Coyote and the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) co-lead a meeting of 12 non-governmental wildlife conservation and animal protection organizations with Under Secretary Ed Avalos and members of the Obama Administration to express concerns regarding USDA Wildlife Services’ predator control program. Camilla Fox hand-deliveres a Change.org petition calling for an investigation into the culture of animal cruelty that exists within the USDA’s Wildlife Services agency. The petition, signed by more than 100,000 concerned citizens, also calls for the firing of federal trapper Jamie Olson for egregious abuse and torture of wildlife. The day before the meeting the New York Times publishes a scathing editorial, “Agriculture’s Misnamed Agency,” about the agency’s policies and practices. Read more.
Following testimony provided by Project Coyote’s Southern California Representative Randi Feilich, the California cities of Calabasas and Malibu pass resolutions opposing the use and sale of rodenticides. Read more.
California Governor Jerry Brown signs AB 789 into law prohibiting inhumane methods of killing wildlife, including drowning, chest-crushing, and injection with chemical solvents. AB 789 also reduces the allowable size of Conibear traps set on land from 10 to 6 inches and requires the use of warning signs on public lands in an effort to protect domestic dogs.
California Governor Jerry Brown takes a historic step toward ending the needless poisoning of wildlife from deadly lead by signing AB 711 into law. AB 711 makes California the first state in the nation to prohibit the use of lead ammunition for hunting, offering much needed protection to the endangered California condor and over 100 other species at risk of lead poisoning. Read more.
California Governor Jerry Brown signs into law AB 1213, the Bobcat Protection Bill, which sets a no-trapping buffer zone around Joshua Tree National Park and other parks where bobcats are protected year-round. Read more.
Project Coyote’s founder and executive director Camilla Fox is named among the “100 Guardian Angels of the Planet.” Read more.
Davis City Council votes unanimously to sever its contract with USDA Wildlife Services (WS) and to work with organizations like Project Coyote to develop a coyote coexistence program after residents learn that WS killed five coyotes — including four pups — whose only crime was being seen on a golf course. Read more.
Pulitzer-Prize winning investigative reporter Tom Knudson exposes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services in a series of articles for the Sacramento Bee that induces members of Congress to request a federal investigation and oversight hearings of the agency. Project Coyote’s work to reform predator management is highlighted. Read more.
In New Mexico, Project Coyote joins a coalition effort to pass SB 253 – a bipartisan bill to ban coyote killing contests. Co-sponsored by Senator Mark Moores (R-Albuquerque) and Representative Jeff Steinborn (D-Albuquerque), the bill passes the Senate Floor 27-13 but then fails in the House. Project Coyote’s Science Advisory board member Dave Parsons testifies before the Senate and presents Project Coyote’s science letter garnering support from more than 50 prominent scientists from across North America that counters the arguments made by killing contest proponents. Read that letter here.
California Governor Jerry Brown signs SB 1221 into law making California the 15th state to prohibit the hounding of bears and the 14th state to ban the hounding of bobcats. Read more.
Project Coyote’s Camilla Fox and Dr. Paul Paquet serve on a Sierra Club Board of Directors-appointed six member national task force to draft a policy regarding wildlife trapping. On May 19, 2012, the Sierra Club Board of Directors adopts a new “Policy on Trapping of Wildlife,” becoming the first major national environmental organization to adopt a strong policy against body-gripping traps. Read more.
Project Coyote works to pass H.R. 4214: The Compound 1080 and M-44 Elimination Act introduced by Representatives John Campbell (R-CA) and Peter DeFazio, (D-OR) to ban the use of two deadly poisons: sodium fluoroacetate, (Compound 1080) and sodium cyanide, presently used nationwide for lethal predator control. Read more.
Camilla Fox and Project Coyote Science Advisory Board member Dr. Paul Paquet co-organize the session “Linking Animal and Conservation Ethics: A Challenge in Conservation” at The Wildlife Society meeting in Portland, Oregon that includes a dynamic array of speakers from across North America. Camilla presents, “Predator Management in the United States: Values, Ethics & Alternatives.”
Project Coyote assists Arcadia, California residents in convincing the City Council to vote unanimously to end the city’s coyote trapping program. Read more.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission votes unanimously to ban coyote and fox pens statewide following a multi-faceted year-long advocacy campaign led by Project Coyote and allies. Read more.
Project Coyote works with allies to help draft a groundbreaking resolution recognizing the critical role coyotes play in prairie ecosystems and condemning bounties and other mass coyote killing programs. The resolution is passed by Nature Saskatchewan, a provincial affiliate of Nature Canada. Read more.
Project Coyote participates in the first Compassionate Conservation Conference in Oxford, England, with Camilla Fox presenting on Predator Management in the U.S. and alternatives to organized indiscriminate killing of native carnivores, and Project Coyote Science Advisory Board member Dr. Marc Bekoff providing the keynote address. Read more.
Project Coyote galvanizes a national coalition of wildlife advocacy and conservation organizations representing more than 70,000 Maine citizens to call for an end to coyote killing tournaments in Maine. The coalition convinces then Governor Baldacci to direct the state Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife to tell organizers to cancel a coyote contest hunt in Washington County. Read more.
In collaboration with the Marin County’s Department of Agriculture, Project Coyote supports the successful Marin Livestock and Wildlife Protection Program. The program was created by the Marin County’s Department of Agriculture with input from Camilla Fox and local ranchers to replace the USDA Wildlife Services-managed lethal predator control program with a non-lethal cost-share alternative. Watch and read more.
Project Coyote launches as a project of the Earth Island Institute*. Read more about Project Coyote and the Founder and Executive Director Camilla Fox’s vision of the organization past and present, and what is needed for North America’s maligned and misunderstood native carnivores:
- Project Coyote ~ Protecting America’s Song Dog
- Interview with Camilla Fox of Project Coyote ~ Jim Goldstein
- Cities are for Wildlife: An Interview with Camilla Fox, Founder and Executive Director of Project Coyote
- Interview With Project Coyote: Compassionate Coexistence with Predators
- Peter Coyote and Camilla Fox ~ Working to change perceptions of and develop better strategies for dealing with Marin’s apex predators.
- Camilla Fox & the North American Native Song Dog
- Camilla Fox’s Huffington Post blog
*Project Coyote is a sponsored project of Earth Island Institute, a 501(c)3 non-profit, public interest, membership organization. Project Coyote relies entirely on private donations and foundation support. To make a tax-deductible donation to Project Coyote click here