The U.S. Biological Survey: How Species Become Endangered

Two interesting factoids from chapter 3 of Clarence Birdseye’s biography:

The U.S. Biological Survey, founded in 1885, was a branch of the Department of Agriculture largely engaged in the wholesale extermination of wild animals considered a nuisance by farmers and ranchers. Its leading victims were wolves and coyotes, and it hired hunters and trappers to kill them… There was considerable controversy about the vicious steel traps that would hold an animal by the leg until it starved to death.


In fact, one of the main missions of the 1973 Endangered Species Act was for the Department of the Interior to bring back all the animal populations it had destroyed at the beginning of the century with the U.S. Biological Survey.


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