Feral cattle terrorising hikers to be taken out by helicopter gunmen (msn.com)
Feral cattle terrorising hikers to be taken out by helicopter gunmen
Snipers in helicopters will this week shoot down up to 150 feral cattle that have terrorised hikers in New Mexico.
The US National Forest is stepping in amid complaints from environmentalists that the beasts are wreaking havoc in the Gila National Forest, a 2.7million acre wilderness in the southwest of the US.
A helicopter carrying a shooter will fly over the forest, with the operation due to start on Thursday.
The herd’s territory is close to wilderness trails popular with hikers and the lack of a mobile phone signal in the wilderness means it would be difficult to summon help if somebody was injured in a stampede.
Hikers have reported being charged by wild bulls, which can weigh up to 2,000 pounds (907kg), officials said.
The Forest Service service said the cattle also posed a “significant” danger to natural resources.
“This has been a difficult decision, but the lethal removal of feral cattle from the Gila Wilderness is necessary to protect public safety, threatened and endangered species habitats, water quality, and the natural character of the Gila Wilderness,” said Camille Howes, Gila National Forest Supervisor.
“The feral cattle in the Gila Wilderness have been aggressive towards wilderness visitors, graze year-round, and trample stream banks and springs, causing erosion and sedimentation. This action will help restore the wilderness character of the Gila Wilderness enjoyed by visitors from across the country.”
An array of federally protected animals have been under threat from the cattle, including narrow-headed garter snake, Gila trout, loach minnow, spikedace, Mexican spotted owl, southwest willow flycatcher, and Mexican grey wolf.
Environmental groups had complained that the cattle were damaging streams and rivers.
“They are part of a herd of at least 150 that’s ripping up this monument and scaring the heck out of folks who cross paths with them,” Terry Anderson, a board member of the Society for the Conservation of Bighorn Sheep told the LA Times
“They also can transmit disease to native bighorn sheep. So, they need to be removed — and I’m all for lethal removal. They don’t belong here.”
Jack Thompson, desert regional director of the adjacent Whitewater Preserve added: “It’s Jurassic Park just a two-hour drive east of downtown Los Angeles.”
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the problems date back to the 1970s when cattle were abandoned by a rancher.
“Having been born in the wild and never domesticated, they are extremely hard to catch and survive in the rough backcountry that is difficult to access,” it said in a memo.
Not everyone was so enthusiastic about the cull on social media.
Marina Bolotnikova, a journalist and campaigner against factory farming wrote on Twitter: “Feral cows should be celebrated as refugees from the meat industry and given sanctuary, not gunned down from the sky.”
Ranchers have also condemned the move as cruel and were opposed to leaving the carcases to rot.
The New Mexico Cattle Growers’ Association has voiced doubts about the tactics. Tom Paterson, chair of the association’s wildlife committee, called for a solution which did not require the cattle to be shot.
“Our society should be better than this. We can be more creative and do it a better way where you’re not wasting an economic resource,” he said. However, the service said the culling was “the most efficient and humane” way to carry out the cull.
Feral cattle are not unique to the Gila National Forest.
One thought on “USA: Snipers In Helicopters To Shoot Down 150 Feral Cattle.”
Another example of “Humans” over everything else. Bullshit! The lies the government spreads in their statements are crap. Cattle don’t leave trash, plastic water bottles and destroy nature. Only HUMANS do!!