Lane County has called in the USDA’s controversial Wildlife Services to trap a bear out of its Rattlesnake Road waste disposal site. But Brooks Fahy of Predator Defense questions why Lane County is spending the money to trap a bear when it’s letting criminals out of its jail.
Oregon has an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 black bears according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and bears showing up around human habitation is not uncommon.
Bears are attracted to food, pet food, fruit and garbage, according to ODFW, and that’s something dumps have in abundance. Fahy says there have been reports of holes in the fence around the dump and asks, rather than trap the bear, “Why aren’t they fixing the fence line?” and adds, “This is a dump. We all know we have to secure the facilities.”
Jeff Bishop, waste management superintendent, says that breaches in site fences are repaired as they are reported, “which at some sites is pretty frequently.”
Fahy says after Wildlife Services live traps a bear, it is usually killed. Predator Defense has sought to end federal funding of Wildlife Services. Fahy cites a recent investigation by the Sacremento Bee that revealed that using traps, snares and poison, Wildlife Services employees “have accidentally killed more than 50,000 animals since 2000 that were not problems, including federally protected golden and bald eagles; more than 1,100 dogs, including family pets; and several species considered rare or imperiled by wildlife biologists.”
Congressman Peter DeFazio has called for cutting federal funding to Wildlife Services.
Lane County voted not to renew its contract with Wildlife Services in 2005, according to Predator Defense, but Bishop says as a condition of the disposal sites’ operating permits measures must be in place for issues such as “birds, rodents and other vectors.” Bishop says waste management does contract with Wildlife Services for things like bear activity. The funding comes from the Solid Waste Fund, which is generated by user fees, he says.