then continue reading below for the two follow-up letters to the Editor.
Letters to the editor for Aug. 26, 2018
Thanks to The Sun’s investigative reporting Aug. 19 concerning lethal bird control at the University of Florida’s Citra Research Facility. Killing an iconic, threatened bird species such as the Florida sandhill crane to protect peanut research is outrageous. Instead of defending the practice, Jack Payne, director of IFAS, should apologize that his organization condoned the slaughter of at least 47 cranes and 105 ring-billed gulls.
Not included in The Sun article are the additional facts that 1) IFAS was illegally killing cranes without a state permit from the Fish and Wildlife Commission (they only had a federal permit); 2) the Florida sandhill is a state-listed threatened species whose population is declining; and 3) when originally contacted about this issue in early 2018, IFAS researchers indicated that “only a few” cranes were shot.
It is imperative that any state or federal permits be revised to eliminate any lethal take of threatened or endangered bird species at any research facility.
John Hintermister, Gainesville
Letters to the editor for Aug. 28, 2018
Six months ago, Alachua Audubon learned that IFAS was authorized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to kill up to 20 sandhill cranes annually to prevent damage to their research plots. Alachua Audubon contacted the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission and discovered that FWC was unaware of the Wildlife Service’s permit, even though state regulations require an FWC depredation permit to lethally take a sandhill.
Following this notification, the Fish and Wildlife Commission met with IFAS and advised them on alternative non-lethal, deterrent techniques. Alachua Audubon also requested assistance from Audubon Florida, which resulted in the issue being taken to the highest level in IFAS.
Thanks to the involvement of Fish and Wildlife Commission and Audubon Florida, IFAS has committed to implementing alternative non-lethal methods to deter sandhill cranes. Now it is up to the Fish and Wildlife Service to revise IFAS’ existing depredation permit to only allow non-lethal methods of deterrence.
Debbie Segal, president, the Alachua Audubon Society