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The illegal use of pesticide-laced baits for predator control is a wildlife crime that is underreported, inadequately documented, and insufficiently punished. The crime occurs when some ranchers, farmers, and hunting groups illegally lace baits with pesticides to control avian and mammalian predators. The activity has poisoned birds protected by the Endangered Species Act, Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act. However, because of difficulties in discovering, reporting, and confirming the baitings and the wildlife kills, the crimes often appear inconsequential. The limited knowledge of these crimes in the public, regulatory, and judicial arenas distorts their importance .for some prosecutors and judges. The United States pesticide regulatory system has positioned federal and state prosecutors and judges in a critical role for protecting wildlife from the illegal practice of lacing baits with pesticides. In this article, the authors provide an overview of the crime and describe the ways in which the crime is investigated. They then present investigative and experimental evidence on the extent of the illegal practice and the magnitude of the kills in order to elucidate their importance with respect to prosecution and sentencing. The authors conclude by recommending that sufficient resources be made available, public awareness and education increased, and persistent prosecution occur in order to improve the effectiveness of all federal wildlife enforcement.
Additional Publication Details
Pesticide-laced predator baits: considerations for prosecution and sentencing