EPA reauthorizes the use of cyanide bombs to kill predators

The EPA has reauthorized the use of M-44 cyanide bombs for managing predators. Some want the traps banned, while others see it as a tool for wildlife managers.


M-44 cyanide bombs work by using bait and a canister of cyanide. A piece of meat will be on the ground with a spring-loaded canister that is set off by the pressure of an animal eating the bait. Cyanide is then launched in the air directly into the animal’s mouth. This tactic is extremely effective and kills the predator instantly.

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Those supporting the M-44 traps argue that these traps are a useful tool for managing predators. They will help keep cattle safe from predation.

Those against the traps do not want poison used on public land. They point out that dogs, cats, bears, and eagles have been killed by these traps as well. In 2017 a young boy was walking his dog when the trap went off and killed his dog and put him in the hospital.

These traps are only temporarily approved, and a final decision is expected in 2021.