Mt. Graham Squirrel Shot by Wildlife Manager in Arizona

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from Earth First! News

According to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, one of its wildlife managers “accidentally” shot and killed an endangered Mt. Graham red squirrel yesterday.

This stunning incident has revealed the total incompetence of wildlife managers and federal wildlife management. Among the most recognized species in the country, the Mt. Graham red squirrel became a universal symbol for direct action ecodefense after the University of Arizona decided to put an observatory in the endangered habitat and Apache sacred site.

In spite of the broadly recognized character of the Red Squirrel, the AGFD manager shot the red squirrel while he was “moving” Abert’s squirrels from Mt. Graham. “Relocations” like these are not uncommon solutions to human-made problems. Though the local media has claimed that Mt. Graham is “drought ridden,” they do not mention the observatories.

Similarly, the Sealion Defense Brigade put themselves in harms way in 2010 when Wildlife Services attempted the shoot sea lions for preying on endangered salmon—no mention of the dams that have put the salmon in peril. In Oregon today, they are shooting barred owls to protect spotted owls without one whisper of guilt regarding the ramped-up deforestation policy of the Forest Service and the Bureau of Logging and Mining.

According to Jim deVos, the assistant director of wildlife management in Arizona, ”While the accidental taking of any endangered species is, of course, regrettable, our wildlife manager in the field self-reported his actions as early and as ethically as possible.”

Federal Wildlife Management employees have accidentally killed more than 50,000 animals since 2000, including federally protected golden and bald eagles, and more than 1,100 dogs—many of them family pets. Ethics are clearly at the forefront.

It is not infrequent that those killings declared “accidents” are discovered to be intentional. In 2009, the last US jaguar was caught intentionally by the Arizona Game and Fish Department, according to the Inspector General, and euthanized. The employee in charge excused the euthanization, saying ”it would have been inhumane to keep him sedated, in captivity, or to release him to die in the wild.”

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