Center for Biological Diversity

Protecting endangered species and wild places through
science, policy, education, and environmental law.


Contact: Erik Ryberg, Staff Attorney, (520) 260-4157

More Than 100 Conservation Organizations Call for
Withdrawal of Proposed Rules Expanding Aerial Gunning
and Trapping in Wilderness Areas

TUCSON, Ariz. — A coalition of more than 100 conservation organizations today submitted comments opposing controversial new rules proposed by the U.S. Forest Service that would permit the use of motorized vehicles in wilderness areas to trap and kill predators like bears, coyotes, wolves, bobcats and mountain lions.

“The Bush administration is famous for its disdain for public resources,” said Erik Ryberg, Staff Attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “But these rules are the worst of the worst. They bring motorized vehicles into wilderness areas and permit aerial gunning of animals that aren’t even implicated in livestock depredation. They could give ranchers complete freedom in wilderness areas, permitting them to kill anything they want.”

The new rules would also permit the use of controversial “M-44” sodium-cyanide traps, which are a danger to domestic pets and children. When triggered, the buried traps explode in a cloud of lethal sodium-cyanide crystals.

The Center for Biological Diversity has spearheaded the campaign to get the proposed rules withdrawn, and was the author of the opposition letter that has been endorsed by more than 100 other conservation organizations from Arizona to Maine.

The proposed rule was released for comment on June 7; comments are due at the Forest Service’s Washington, D.C. offices on Monday.

The Center for Biological Diversity and seven other organizations, including Defenders of Wildlife and the Sierra Club, asked the Forest Service to extend the comment period, but as of August 2, had not heard from the Forest Service.

The proposed rule, the sign-on letter, press coverage of the rule and other related information are available at

The Center for Biological Diversity is a non-profit conservation organization with more than 25,000 members dedicated to the protection of imperiled species and habitat.


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