Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, June 29, 2023


Brooks Fahy, Predator Defense, (541) 520-6003,
Collette Adkins, Center for Biological Diversity, (651) 955-3821,

Petition Urges Interior Department to Ban ‘Cyanide Bombs’ On Public Lands

More Than 70 Conservation Groups Oppose Deadly M-44s

WASHINGTON— The Center for Biological Diversity, Predator Defense and scores of other conservation groups petitioned the U.S. Interior Department today to ban the use of M-44 devices, commonly known as ‘‘cyanide bombs,’’ on lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management. These wildlife-killing devices are spring-loaded ejectors armed with cyanide powder that have injured people and inhumanely killed thousands of animals every year.

“I find it incomprehensible that our government is still using cyanide bombs after so many horrific tragedies,” said Brooks Fahy, executive director of Predator Defense, a national wildlife advocacy group. “The Department of the Interior has an opportunity to stop this insanity now. I hold out hope they will do so.”

The Bureau of Land Management is the only agency within the Interior Department that uses these dangerous devices to target predators like coyotes and wolves. M-44s are not used on lands administered by the National Park Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service or the Bureau of Reclamation.

Most M-44s are placed by Wildlife Services, the animal-killing program of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Federal agents last year reported using M-44s in 10 states: Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming. According to Wildlife Services’ own data, the program poisoned approximately 6,000 animals in 2022 using M-44s. State agencies in South Dakota, Montana, Wyoming, New Mexico and Texas are also authorized to use M-44s.

The devices continue to be used on federal lands, even after a well-known tragedy in 2017 in Pocatello, Idaho. Canyon Mansfield was 14 years old when he inadvertently triggered an M-44 device placed on BLM land behind his home, which killed his dog and injured him. He was believed to have been spared from death because of the wind’s direction.

“It shouldn’t take another tragedy for the Interior Department to finally ban these dangerous devices,” said Collette Adkins, carnivore conservation program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s outrageous that these poison-spewing devices are still scattered across our federal public lands. They place endangered animals, wildlife, hikers and dogs at risk of injury or death.”

Today’s administrative rulemaking petition complements ongoing efforts to pass federal legislation banning the devices, with two bills introduced in Congress earlier this month.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Predator Defense is a national nonprofit advocacy organization devoted to protecting essential native predators, helping people learn to coexist with wild animals, and ending America's war on wildlife. They have been championing native predators with science, sanity, and heart since 1990.

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