FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, June 15, 2007

Brian Vincent, Big Wildlife, 604/618-1030,
Spencer Lennard, Big Wildlife, 541/941-9242,

Group Says Wildlife Officials Studied at “Tony Soprano” School of Wildlife Management

Williams, Oregon
– Big Wildlife, an international wildlife advocacy group based in Williams, Oregon, said it was “horrified” by an article published in today’s Daily Astorian that revealed the federal agency, Wildlife Services, with the cooperation of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), is killing bears who peel bark from trees on private timberland and dumping the bears' remains in a wildlife refuge. The paper reported a road builder for a logging company, Gary Ziak, stumbled upon an open pit in the Jewell Meadows Wildlife Area near Seaside and discovered about ten bear carcasses, including cubs. According to the Daily Astorian, Ziak indicated that one bear’s paw was “mangled when the animal tried to escape from a snare.” “This is a dandy here,” Ziak told the Astorian of a larger bear. “This is unbelievable. It almost makes a guy cry.” To read the full Daily Astorian article go to:
“Wildlife officials in Oregon must have attended the Tony Soprano school of wildlife management. Timber companies put out a contract on a bear who claws a few trees, government agents whack the bears, then dump the bodies in the Meadows. There are better ways to save trees then to snuff Smokey,” said Brian Vincent, Communications Director for Big Wildlife.
Daily Astorian reporter Kara Hansen wrote in today’s edition of the paper, “With coats of cinnamon, light brown and black, the bears ranged in age from adult males to cubs and their mothers, he [Ziak] said. They had been snared, then shot in the head, months before regular hunting season begins Aug. 1.” The Astorian continued, “As it turns out, big game carcasses will continue building at this local spot as the state unloads bears killed on private forestland in Clatsop County during 'bear damage season,' typically starting in spring months and ending in late June.”
Big Wildlife urged Governor Ted Kulongoski to immediately order the ODFW to halt its participation in the bear killing program. In addition, the group said the Governor should terminate any agreements with Wildlife Services that facilitate the killing of bears who damage trees. In May 2003, 25 conservation and animal welfare groups wrote to Governor Kulongoski requesting he end the brutal bear killing program. The Governor refused to take any action.
In early spring, bears peel bark from trees to get at the sugary sap that satisfies the intense energy requirements they have after emerging from their winter dens. Timber companies claim the hungry bears damage trees on their property and want the state and federal governments to continue trapping and killing “offending” bears. Although the public has largely been unaware of this practice, the annual bear kill is funded in part with taxpayer dollars.
Most of the bears are killed with leg snares. Government agents place bait to attract bears to trap sites. When a bear steps on a buried pan, a trigger sends a wire coil around the bear’s foot which tightens as the bear struggles. Agencies that carry out this barbaric practice generally check the traps every other day. That means a bear could spend up to 48 hours in the snare, longer if a government agent doesn't check it on time. Bears caught in traps are shot. If the bear has cubs (yearling cubs stay with a trapped mother), government agency is to also kill the cubs.