banner_winter.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

EPA Denies Petition To Immediately Ban 'Cyanide Bombs' On Public Lands

This Thursday, March 16, 2017 photo released by the Bannock County Sheriff's Office shows a cyanide device in Pocatello, Idaho. The cyanide device, called M-44, is spring-activated and shoots poison that is meant to kill predators.
Bannock County Sheriff's Office via AP
/
This Thursday, March 16, 2017 photo released by the Bannock County Sheriff's Office shows a cyanide device in Pocatello, Idaho. The cyanide device, called M-44, is spring-activated and shoots poison that is meant to kill predators.

Cyanide bombs largely targeting nuisance predators like coyotes can stay on public lands – for now.

The EPA calls them M-44’s and denied a petition by several wildlife groups to ban their use. The devices lure carnivores with bait and eject deadly cyanide when triggered.

Bethany Cotton is with WildEarth Guardians out of Missoula. She says these bombs kill animals indiscriminately.

“You cannot prevent an animal like a wolf or a Canada lynx or a grizzly bear or a bald eagle from dying,” Cotton says.

The bombs have also killed household pets and last year injured a boy and killed his dog when he was hiking in Idaho.

Cotton says killing coyotes this way can actually increase their threat as a predator. That’s because when adult coyotes are killed it disrupts the family structure, leaving juvenile coyotes to fend for themselves.

“Think of them as human teenagers without good supervision. They’re more likely to get into trouble if their parents aren’t around,” she says.

In a settlement in federal court earlier this year the EPA already agreed to review its use of the devices. That's why the agency denied the petition, according to an EPA spokesman, saying "... a special review process would be redundant."

But the EPA has until the end of 2021 to wrap up that evaluation.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

Copyright 2020 Boise State Public Radio News. To see more, visit Boise State Public Radio News.

James Dawson joined Boise State Public Radio as the organization's News Director in 2017. He oversees the station's award-winning news department. Most recently, he covered state politics and government for Delaware Public Media since the station first began broadcasting in 2012 as the country's newest NPR affiliate. Those reports spanned two governors, three sessions of the Delaware General Assembly, and three consequential elections. His work has been featured on All Things Considered and NPR's newscast division. An Idaho native from north of the time zone bridge, James previously served as the public affairs reporter and interim news director for the commercial radio network Inland Northwest Broadcasting. His reporting experience included state and local government, arts and culture, crime, and agriculture. He's a proud University of Idaho graduate with a bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. When he's not in the office, you can find James fly fishing, buffing up on his photography or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season.