Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings collection


Date of this Version

March 1972


Editors note: Because of the great need for exchange of information concerning predator management, I have requested and received permission from the author to include in the Vertebrate Pest Conference Proceedings this paper presented at the Predator Ecology Symposium held in Orland, California, March 1, 1972.

There may not be many things about predators that everyone here agrees upon, but I do believe you all are certain that major changes are about to be made in their management. You all are aware of two recent proclamations of change, the President's Executive Order No. 11643 of February 8, 1972, and the release on the same date of the Report to the Council on Environmental Quality and the Department of the Interior by the Advisory Committee on Predator Control, the so-called Cain Report. Two aspects of predator management are obviously going to be drastically altered if these mandates are carried out, and I'm sure they will be to one degree or another; these are, who is going to do the managing, and how.

So why is there now a second investigation of U.S. predator control? Why a new report and new directives including the most significant recommendations of the new Cain Report that:
1) Federal-State cooperation in predator control be continued but only with general funds appropriated by Congress and State legislatures, no county, livestock association or other local cooperative funding.
2) No poisons be used in predator control and none in rodent control that might secondarily kill predators. 3) The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service do several things: professionalize their field employees, conduct an extension trapper program, conduct research in predator ecology, cost-benefit ratios of predator control, effectiveness of predator control programs, and rabies epidemiology.
The apparent answer is that the 1964 report, or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's compliance with its recommendations, or both, just weren't sufficiently satisfactory. Satisfactory to whom? Well, the report was well done, its recommendations did meet approval of responsible conservationists, and the field force within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and their state, county and livestock grower cooperators did try to perform an effective, selective job of predator control within its framework. The program evidently did not satisfy the higher administrative levels of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Interior. Obviously the control program displeased protectionist groups by its continuance of poison use and some of them are opposed to any predator control.