Saturday, June 17, 2017

M-44 Predator Device Attracts Scrutiny

By John Maday

While the device apparently is effective against livestock predators such as coyotes and feral dogs, its use raises concerns among environmental groups, wildlife enthusiasts and pet owners. Recent news stories have documented accidental cyanide poisonings of pet dogs and possibly humans. In an Idaho case, a pet dog died after encountering an M-44 device, and the 14-year-old boy walking the dog suffered symptoms suggesting exposure to cyanide. According to The Sacramento Bee, U.S. records show more than 3,400 animals were mistakenly killed by M-44s between 2006 and 2012. The new directive from WS calls for more durable and visible signage to make it clear to people that M-44s have been set in an area, and these signs will now be placed within 15 feet of each device, rather than the 25 feet established by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) restrictions.  One elevated sign will be required for each device placed. WS also has established a ½ mile perimeter for M-44 devices, along with a policy to proactively communicate with residents near this radius and to document that this notification has taken place. WS will use maps, GPS, GIS and other available technologies to assure devices are placed appropriately on public and privates lands, and to identify the perimeter, according to a USDA news release.  In addition, WS will continue to require written approval from the owner or cooperator of land where any M44 device is to be placed...more

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