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David-Phillips-Bio Photo 2016.jpgFrom Executive Director David Phillips






Earth Island | A Call to Action

August 9, 2017

The Hidden War on Wildlife   

Project Coyote Takes on the Killing Contests    

  How many people even know that thousands of coyotes, mountain lions, foxes, bobcats, prairie dogs, crows, and wolves are killed every year in “contests” across the country where winners get guns, belt buckles and ribbons for killing the most animals?

These tournaments claim to be about “predator management” but that is just a ruse.  In reality they often violate laws and restrictions, are barbaric, and encourage the slaughter of these animals with a chilling message that killing animals is fun.

Killing contests violate the public trust doctrine, as wildlife is a public trust asset that must be protected for future generations. The contests are an artifact of outdated and unscientific state and federal wildlife agency management programs that reward hunters, trappers, and big agricultural interests with a phony message that killing unlimited numbers of predators is legitimate wildlife management.

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Thankfully, Project Coyote, headed by Camilla Fox, is shining a spotlight on this war on wildlife and is working to see that these killing contests are shut down. They played a key role by assembling a coalition of groups that successfully pressured the California Fish and Game Commission in late 2014 to become the first state to prohibit this cruel practice.

Now, Project Coyote is taking it national with the launch of its new film Killing Games – Wildlife in the Crosshairs. Check out the trailer here. The film features scientists, ranchers, and advocates to debunk the myths behind killing contests. It’s clearly time that this barbaric practice is put in the dustbin of history.

Never underestimate the value that films can bring to the issues we care about. I’ve been part of and seen up close the transformative effect that movies like Free Willy, The Cove, and Blackfish have had on worldwide public attitudes about the capture, killing, and captivity of dolphins and whales.  A whole generation of people have taken action to protect these amazing creatures because of these films.

At Earth Island we're also proud of the extraordinary work that filmmaker Toby McLeod’s Sacred Land Film Project has produced reaching millions of people with powerful stories of what local communities, threatened cultures, and activists are doing to protect sacred lands around the world. 

Regarding the upcoming launch of Killing Games, Camilla states:  "The film illuminates the stark contract between respect for the intrinsic value of wildlife and appreciation for their role in the ecosystem, and their reckless destruction for profit and entertainment."

Watch the Project Coyote site for the latest information on the film and how you can see it.  Help them fight against the killing contests and build support for peaceful coexistence with coyotes and other predators in your communities, the legislatures and court across North America.

Check out this news story on Project Coyote's work. 

You can reach me with your own perspectives and thoughts at  

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