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Stop the Plan to Kill of Double-Crested Cormorants in Ohio

Stop the Plan to Kill of Double-Crested Cormorants in Ohio

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has put forward a formal call for comments before it implements a plan to kill many members of the double-crested cormorant population in Ohio. The double-crested cormorant population in Ohio is extremely small, and would be at grave risk should this terrible massacre take place. Please join us in urging officials to cancel the killing of these innocent birds this year, and permanently. 

The double-crested cormorant is a popular bird in Ohio, due to the species’ colorful markings, expert diving skills, and graceful wingspan. They are extremely beautiful and brilliant birds. 

Regardless of how popular they are with Ohio birders and those who appreciate wild animals, however, they are equally as unpopular among the state's self-centered fishing industry and other monied interest groups. 

According to the Department's own assessment, Ohio’s total breeding population of cormorants has been fluctuating between only 2,400 to 4,300 pairs in the last several years. We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction event partially fueled by governments and industries that wage war on small local populations of wild animals. Double-crested cormorants numbers are incredibly low, and wildlife scientists are raising the alarm that this barbaric slaughter could see population declines on the state or even regional level. 

The most common method of killing cormorants is shooting. Permits are issued, after which birds are hunted on water, in the air, and even at their breeding sites. Double-breasted cormorants are monogamous and some will suffer the devastating loss of their partners. Others who are maimed but not killed outright face a long, agonizing death.

Scientists are also speaking out that the science is not rigorous enough to demonstrate that cormorants are having a significant impact on particular resources, and certainly not enough to justify a mass killing. 

Instead, as noted, this hysteria for killing is being drummed up by a handful of moneyed interests. If they want to “manage the problem,” they could begin with nonlethal methods, such as netting or other nondestructive deterrents. But they would rather not be bothered, and simply outsource the killing free of charge, having US taxpayers foot the bill. 

Do you want your taxes to go toward killing small groups of helpless animals who are being unfairly targeted?

There is no definitive evidence Ohio’s double-crested cormorants are a problem at all. Instead, they are an innocent (and small) population of birds going about their bird business. All they ask of us is to be left alone. We should grant them that much. 

Join us in urging USDA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials to stop the slaughter of double-crested cormorants by submitting an official comment! After that urgently important action is completed, please consider calling and posting on social media.  

1) Submit a formal comment on Regulation.gov

Please submit an official comment on Regulations.gov to implore the USDA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources to stop the killing. It is a very simple process and should not take more than a minute. We always strive to make this process as easy as possible, but in this case the only way to formally submit comments is via the Regulation.gov form. These birds have no voice to speak for themselves and urgently need your support. 

The main comment submission form is at this page. You submit comments by clicking the dark blue square button saying “Comment.”

  • Copy the below text and paste it into the comment field
  • There is no need to attach any files
  • Enter your email address
  • Click on the the big "An Individual" box along the bottom
  • Enter your contact information
  • Check the reCAPTCHA box
  • Click the "Submit Comment" button

You can use part or all of the following text, or write your own message!

Please do not move forward with this plan to decimate the double-crested cormorant population in Ohio. This would be a barbaric act to perpetuate against a frighteningly small population of innocent, defenseless animals. Violence is often the "easiest" option. That doesn't make it right or effective. 

Note that, according to the Department's own assessment, Ohio’s total breeding population of cormorants has been fluctuating between 2,400 to 4,300 pairs in the last several years. At numbers this low, it isn’t difficult to imagine seeing population declines on the state or even regional level, a possibility wildlife scientists are raising alarms about. 

The most common method of killing is shooting. Permits are issued, after which birds are hunted on water, in the air, and even at their breeding sites. 

Linda Wires, a research associate at the University of Minnesota, denies that data exists that justify these killings: “In most places, the science is not rigorous enough to demonstrate that cormorants are having an impact on particular resources.” 

Instead, as noted, much of the hysteria for killing is being drummed up by a handful of moneyed interests. If big industry wants to “manage the problem,” it could begin with nonlethal methods, such as netting or other nondestructive deterrents. 

There is no definitive evidence Ohio’s double-crested cormorants are a problem that requires the mass killing of these beloved birds. Instead, they are an innocent (and small) population of birds going about their bird business. All they ask of us is to be left alone. Please have the courtesy and kindness to grant them that much, and call off the killing. 

2) Once your official comment has been submitted, please consider making a few quick calls to the agencies to call off the killing:

USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Janet L. Bucknall - Deputy Administrator
(202) 799-7096   

Andrew J. Montoney - USDA, APHIS, WS Ohio State Director
Phone: (614) 993-3444

Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Ohio Division of Wildlife

Kendra Wecker - Chief, Division of Wildlife
(614) 265-6304

Some talking points you can mention:

  • The double-crested cormorant is a popular bird in Ohio, due to their colorful markings, expert diving skills, and graceful wingspan.
  • Double-crested cormorants are smart, beautiful, and intelligent.
  • According to the department's own assessment, Ohio’s total breeding population of cormorants has been fluctuating between 2,400 to 4,300 pairs.
  • Why should taxpayers be forced to foot the bill when the demand for killing is coming from big agriculture businesses? If they want to "manage" the problem, they can do so with their own money using nonlethal methods, such as installing netting.

3) Lastly, please consider commenting on the USDA and Ohio Department of Natural Resources' social media accounts.

On the USDA’s Facebook page, and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Facebook page, please urge them to stop the planned killing of the double-crested cormorant in Ohio. 

On Twitter, please send the following message: 

@USDA @USDA_APHIS @ohiodnr Please stop the planned killing of double-crested #cormorants in Ohio. Less than 4,300 breeding pairs live in Ohio. Leave #birdsthem alone. #USDA #APHIS #birds #Audubon  #wildbirds #cormorants #wildlife

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