Our mission is to protect native predators, help people learn to coexist with wild animals, and end America's war on wildlife.
Revered by the Navaho's as "God's dog,"
coyotes have been indiscriminately
slaughtered to help the sheep industry,
which is actually declining due to market
forces, not predation.
What We Do
Predator Defense is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization funded primarily by member donations.
Since 1990 our efforts have taken us into the field, onto America’s public lands, to Congress, and into courtrooms. We spearhead legislation, share research findings, monitor government agencies, and, when necessary, pursue legal action. We also serve as a resource for reporters, elected officials, and the public.
Specific activities include:
- Promoting non-lethal predator control that helps people and preserves wildlife.
- Helping people who have been harmed by predator-killing devices and those who have lost pets to any predator control activities.
- Working with the press and contributing to documentaries, special news features, conferences, and in classrooms.
- Serving as a resource on predator species and wildlife poisons for libraries and databases worldwide.
- Collaborating with wildlife scientists to help disseminate results of their research to a broader audience.
- Assisting the public and law enforcement agencies in efforts to rescue wildlife that have been injured. In Oregon, we respond to emergency calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from wildlife rehabilitation organizations, law enforcement agencies and the public when wildlife is harmed or endangered by man’s activities such as when a bear, cougar, coyote or bobcat is hit by a vehicle.
- Monitoring and challenging state and federal wildlife management policies that adversely affect predator species. We work with these agencies in their efforts to protect native predators. When necessary, we pursue litigation that requires agencies to follow laws and regulations established to protect native predators.
- Strengthening protection for native predators by providing our elected representatives with information and other support they need to enact laws that protect America’s predators.
- Collaborating with researchers, other wildlife groups, governmental agencies, elected officials, and others to improve our ability to find solutions that protect predators.
- Working with international and local airport authorities to control birds of prey, deer, coyotes, and foxes without killing them.
- Helping the public, elected officials, agency personnel, ranchers and others understand that people and predators can peacefully co-exist.
How We're Different
- We’ve been in the trenches since 1990, dealing with the most brutal and shocking wildlife atrocities.
- We’re proactive. No other organization has done what we’ve done to expose America’s secret war on wildlife.
- We’re not one of the corporate pack.
- We don’t sell our membership list.
- We don’t spend money on marketing gimmicks.
- We produce hard-hitting, award-winning documentaries.
- We’re changing hearts and minds to make a better world for
What We Believe
- The commonly held belief that we need to kill predators to control their population is a myth.
- Predators should not be hunted or trapped.
- Individual animals matter. No animal should suffer.
- Family values matter. It is not OK to rip family units apart.
- Predators cause insignificant livestock losses for ranchers. Most losses are caused by poor animal husbandry.
- Private ranching should not be allowed on public lands.
- Government agencies manage wildlife cruelly, to maximize sport-killing opportunities, and to support “Big Ag.” They do not manage wildlife for the sake of biodiversity.
- Wildlife agencies desperately need reform, starting with USDA Wildlife Services’ lethal predator control program.
History & Milestones
Began as Cascade Wildlife Rescue, Then Narrowed Focus
Established in 1990, Cascade Wildlife Rescue filled a critical need for predator rehabilitation and predator species protection. Between 1990 and 1994, the organization served two purposes. First, it provided quality rehabilitation for predators including bears, bobcats, cougars, coyotes, and foxes. Secondly, it was an active voice for predator species protection.
Over time finding suitable release sites for rehabilitated animals became increasingly difficult and public management policies were failing to protect predators and their habitat. The rampant use of predator control methods such as leg hold traps, poisons, snares, aerial gunning, bounties, and designated hunting seasons was profoundly impacting existing populations and undermining the second chance for rehabilitated animals. In 1995 the organization closed the rehabilitation center and embarked on a new path--focusing its resources on protecting predator species more broadly.
Highlights of Key Events & Accomplishments
- Rallied against Idaho wolf slaughter at state capitol in Boise, Feb. 15, 2016
- Coplaintiff in lawsuit challenging federal government's ability to kill any of Oregon's remaining 81 gray wolves, Feb. 2016
- Congressman Peter DeFazio recognizes our 25 years of "forceful advocacy and an admirable ability to get things done--and done well"
- Celebrating 25 years - 25th anniversary newsletter
- Timeline - highlights of key achievements since 1990
- Standing-room-only crowd at Congressional screening/briefing of our film EXPOSED: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife in Washington, D.C., June 15, 2015. People in the know said such a turnout was unprecedented.
- EXPOSED: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife, wins award for Best Short Film at Animal Film Festival in Grass Valley, CA, and is being screened around the country
- Victory for wolves in Washington - In Dec. 2015 a federal judge stopped Wildlife Services' plan to kill more wolves to reduce livestock predation, finding the plan illegal, highly controversial, and unlikely to work.
- Our whistle-blowing film, EXPOSED: USDA's Secret War on Wildlife, wins award for Best Wildife Activism at Wildlife Conservation Film Festival and testimonial from Jane Goodall, who wants millions to see it
- Year-end report
- Wolf wars escalate. We place billboards around Yellowstone National Park to greet tourists coming from all over the world to see wolves and other animals.
- Year-end report
- Intensive work with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Tom Knudson, leads to Sacramento Bee exposé calling for Congressional investigation of USDA Wildlife Services' out-of-control "predator control" program
- Year-end report
- Featured on CNN Headline News in a story about M-44 poison traps used by the USDA’s Wildlife Services program. The producers had heard about our efforts to ban M-44s and had also seen our YouTube video, “Two Killers That Need to Go,” on the deadly threat of M-44s. The CNN interview featured our executive director, Brooks Fahy, as well as people we've helped over the years who have been injured by M-44s or who have lost dogs to them. This is the first time that this issue and Wildlife Services’ lethal predator control program have been featured in a national live broadcast. It was conducted during prime time, reaching millions of households in the U.S. and abroad.
- Spearheaded introduction of H.R. 5643, the Compound 1080 and Sodium Cyanide Elimination Act, in the U.S. Congress by Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio.
- Primary resource for writer who authored Men’s Journal article: “America’s Secret War on Wildlife” in January 2008 issue by providing background information, sources, data and photographs.
- Spearheaded introduction of the Compound 1080 and M-44 Elimination Act, H.R. 4775, in the U.S. Congress by Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio.
- Compelled the EPA to launch a criminal investigation of the 2003 M-44 poisoning of Dennis Slaugh on public land in Utah.
- Documented several incidents of accidental M-44s poisoning in Utah. One of the cases involved a senior citizen who was poisoned by a U.S. government trap and continues to suffer greatly from this poisoning. An investigation is ongoing.
- Convinced county commissioners of Lane County, Oregon to not re-sign its contract with the USDA’s Wildlife Services lethal predator control program. The contract would have supported trappers who kill predators at the request of ranchers.
- Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced the first bill to ban Compound 1080 since President Nixon signed an Executive Order in 1972 banning its use in the U.S. HR4567 was a comprehensive bill that would put an end to the manufacture, processing, possession, distribution, or use of Compound 1080. Passage of this bill would also have closed the only known 1080 factory in the world, located in Oxford, Alabama. The bill would also have provided for the collection and destruction of existing stockpiles. Predator Defense was the driving force behind this bill to outlaw Compound 1080. Unfortunately, the Republican led House made sure this bill went nowhere.
- Posted 2,000 “Tip Line” posters at remote trailheads in Idaho letting people know poison baits had been put out in these areas. We believe the poisoning was motivated to kill wolves but they also killed dogs and other non-target animals. Soon after our campaign the poisoning stopped.
- Convened town meeting in Oxford, Alabama, home of Tull Chemical—the only company in the world that produces Compound 1080 poison. Predator Defense gave a slide show on the history and hazards of Compound 1080 and met with community members and members of the local media providing information on the dangers of 1080.
- Provided legal support for families who lost pets to wildlife trappers.
- Made an emergency request to the Office of Homeland Security to ban Compound 1080 citing its potential use as a chemical weapon. The request received extensive press coverage.
- Went to Oxford, Alabama where Tull Chemical manufactures one of the deadliest poisons on earth—Compound 1080. This is the only known factory in the world that produces Compound 1080. Photographed facility and made contact with residents living nearby.
- Co-plaintiff in lawsuit that halted the killing of badgers, ravens, coyotes and other native animals by Wildlife Services in Idaho.
- Co-plaintiff in lawsuit that stopped coyote killing at the Colorado Springs Airport.
- Documented gross EPA violations by Wildlife Service’s in incident in Estacada, Oregon where a German Shepard pet, Buddy, was killed by an M-44 just 100 yards from the owner’s backdoor.
- Stopped proposed coyote hunt on Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in southeastern Oregon. Read testimonial from Jim Yoakum, Certified Wildlife Biologist
- Stopped the introduction of Compound 1080 livestock protection collars in Oregon after a three-year battle with the Environmental Protection Agency, USDA Wildlife Services and the Oregon Department of Agriculture. Former Oregon governor John Kitzhaber and Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio stepped up to support our cause. Ultimately, USDA Wildlife Services withdrew their authorization to use livestock protection collars containing Compound 1080 in Oregon.
- Spearheaded an amendment to cut $10 million from the USDA’s Wildlife Services program to eradicate predators (primarily coyotes). This amendment would have eliminated all federal funding for lethal predator control. The amendment passed 229 to 193. Congressman Peter DeFazio introduced this amendment to a House Agriculture Appropriations Bill and fought hard for its passage. Unfortunately, after passage, powerful Republican house members Bob Smith of Oregon and Joe Skeen of New Mexico worked the phones overnight with the help of the American Farm Bureau to invalidate this vote. In an unprecedented move, they called for a revote the following day based on a technicality in amendment wording. In the revote the bill failed 232 to 191.
- Stopped coyote killing on Julia Butler Hansen National Wildlife Refuge in Washington State.
- Stopped a program to snare urban coyotes in Lake Oswego, OR.
- Initiated a petition drive that canceled a proposed bear hunt in the Rogue River region of southwestern Oregon.
- Brought suit against the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) under the Oregon Public Records Act to open records on cougar damage complaints. Based on these records Predator Defense released a special investigative report discrediting ODFW reporting methods. The records indicated that the vast majority of cougar incidents reported to the media by ODFW during a heated ballot initiative campaign were unsubstantiated. The report helped stop passage of Ballot Measure 34 in Oregon, an initiative that would have legalized the hunting of cougars and bears with dogs and that would have given ODFW unprecedented power to make wildlife policy without public input.
- Stopped aerial gunning of coyotes on Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge. Read testimonial from Jim Yoakum, Certified Wildlife Biologist
- Stopped USDA’s Wildlife Services from lethal predator control of coyotes at Portland International Airport.
- Stopped USDA's Wildlife Services from illegally killing a cougar in eastern Lane County, Oregon that was not posing a threat to livestock or people. Wildlife Services subsequently apologizes to Predator Defense.
- Stopped USDA's Wildlife Services from lethal predator control of coyotes at Portland International Airport. Read recognition letter from Port of Portland
- Campaigned for the successful passage of Ballot Measure 18 in Oregon, a bill to ban the hunting of bears and cougars with dogs and baiting of black bears.
- Led successful campaign with Congressman Peter DeFazio to ban aerial gunning of wolves in Alaska. As of early 2007, wolves in Alaska are once more being killed by aerial gunning.
- Established and ran a hospital and care facility specializing in working with predator species that had been orphaned or injured.
Documentary Films & Special Features
Education is a crucial part of our efforts to save predators. By helping with the production of wildlife documentaries Predator Defense promotes awareness of predator issues and makes sure that a conservation viewpoint is included in these films. See featured films | Watch films on YouTube
2014 - Rewilding the Northeast PSA - Public Service Announcement on how returning predators to the Northeastern U.S. would facilitate a more fully functional and wild ecosystem, with keystone species like wolves, bears and cougars fulfilling a dynamic and evolving ecological function in the changing environments of the region.
2013 - EXPOSED: USDA's War on Wildlife - In our latest film you'll see three former federal agents and a Congressman blow the whistle on Wildlife Services--a barbaric, wasteful and misnamed agency within the USDA--and expose the government’s secret war on wildlife on the taxpayer's dime.
2012 - The Imperiled American Wolf - Wolves were rescued from the brink of extinction over 35 years ago when they gained federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. Today the American wolf is again in grave danger. This film explains the reasons wolves cannot be successfully managed by state wildlife agencies and makes a bold call for federal relisting of these important apex predators as endangered species.
2011 - CNN Headline News featured us in a news story about M-44 poison traps used by the USDA’s Wildlife Services program. The producers had heard about our efforts to ban M-44s and had also seen our YouTube video, “Two Killers That Need to Go,” on the deadly threat of M-44s.
2010 - Oregon Field Guide, a weekly program on Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB), featured us in Living with Wolves. We advocated for wolves by describing their tolerance toward people.
2006 - Cougars in Oregon was featured on Oregon Field Guide, a weekly program on Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). Predator Defense dispelled information presented by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife that hunting cougars is necessary to protect people and enhance game herds such as deer and elk.
2004 - Wolves in Oregon was featured on Oregon Field Guide, a weekly program on Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB). Predator Defense gave a strong argument for wolf protection as wolves began to disperse from Idaho to Oregon.
2001 - The Ultimate Survivor. Predator Defense was recruited to advise the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) on the natural history of coyotes. In the film Predator Defense provided a summary of the controversy surrounding coyotes in the U.S.
2001 - Dead Coyote Walking. This Outdoor Life Network (OLN) documentary exposes brutal coyote contest hunting and other lethal predator “control”. Predator Defense contributed to the making of this film. Actor and activist, Peter Coyote, narrated the film and later became an Advisory Board member of Predator Defense.
2000 - Killing Coyote. A High Plains film produced by Doug Hawes-Davis, this documentary provides an in-depth look at both the horrors of lethal predator "control" and the viewpoints and motivations of those who support it. Predator Defense provided evidence from scientific research; argued persuasively on film against lethal predator control from ethical and ecological perspectives; and linked the filmmakers to key resources thereby increasing the power of this film.
1998 - Wildlife Wars. Predator Defense was featured in this Turner Broadcast Stations (TBS) documentary that exposed indiscriminate killing of wildlife by the USDA's Wildlife Services Program. Narrated by actress and activist Daryl Hannah, the documentary was also shown on Animal Planet. TBS consulted regularly with Predator Defense throughout the production of this film.
1996 - Northwest Reports, a special investigative program on KPTV in Portland, Oregon, reported on the Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge proposal to aerial gun coyotes on the refuge on the pretext of enhancing pronghorn fawn recruitment. Predator Defense brought science to bear to dispel arguments made by refuge managers that killing was needed.
Executive Director, Brooks Fahy
Sr. Native Carnivore Advocate, Sally Mackler
Communications Director, Pam Round
Cinematographer, Paul Garrett
Board of Directors
Diana Cornelius, Ph.D.
Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., Colorado
Joy Belsky, Ph.D., Oregon - In Memoriam
Peter Coyote, Actor, California
Katie Fite, M.S., Idaho
Donna Harris, DVM, Oregon
Rick Hopkins, Ph.D., California
Paul Joslin, Ph.D., Alaska
Jack Laufer, M.S., Washington
John Laundre, Ph.D., California
Mollie Matteson, M.S., Vermont
Doug McKenna, Former USFWS Special Agent, New Mexico
Debra Merskin, Ph.D., Oregon
Sander Orent, M.D., Colorado
Mark Owens, M.Ed., B.S., Georgia
Rex W. Shaddox, M.A., Texas
Lisa Upson, J.D., Montana
Jonathan G. Way, Ph.D., Massachusetts
Geri Vistein, M.S., M.Ed., Maine
George Wuerthner, M.S., Oregon
Jim Yoakum, M.S., Nevada - In Memorium
Legal Advisory Board
David Atkin, Lead Attorney