Next Question: Are M-44 cyanide devices used to kill predators in Colorado?

Our Next Question from MediColorado on Twitter asks about a controversial predator control device used in Western States.

Next Question: Are any bans in place in Colorado, like a group just petitioned for in Wyoming, that prohibit ranchers from using so-called 'cyanide bombs' to kill predators?

@MediColorado reached out to Next on Twitter to ask about the controversial device, after some family dogs were killed in Wyoming.

They're not exactly bombs, or explosives of any kind. The M-44s are 5-inch-long, spring activated canisters; they contain bait, and when animals like coyotes pull on them, they release deadly cyanide, which the EPA considers a restricted-use pesticide

The gadgets are legal in Colorado and 15 other states. Only people who are certified and trained can use M-44s, and in some states, private pest control companies are allowed to use them, as well. Specifically, these devices control coyote, fox and feral dog populations that are suspected of targeting livestock or endangered species. In a statement to Next from the United States Department of Agriculture, the public affairs office said:

In a 2015 survey of producers, the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) found that coyotes nationwide killed an estimated 118,032 sheep and lambs, valued at an estimated $12.1 million and $20.4 million, respectively for all predators. Dogs, the second most common livestock predator, were credited with 21.4 percent of predator losses in adult sheep and 10.3 percent of predator losses to lambs.

Private citizens cannot personally install M-44s. Ranchers can, however, contact the Wildlife Services office in Colorado for resource information. The devices are tracked, but there is no designated limit for the number of M-44s allowed in a given state.

New federal guidelines, out last week, acknowledge "most people know nothing about M-44s and their hazards." The feds say they'll expanding a review of their placement and use. The review should be complete by fall. 

You can read all the current rules and regulations here.

Have a question about something you'd like Next to find an answer to? Let us know with #HeyNext. 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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