Compound 1080, also known as sodium monofluoroacetate, was banned by President Richard M. Nixon in 1972; it is a particularly nasty way to control wildlife and eliminate pests. Subsequent moves by the Reagan administration allow its use in very specific circumstances — mostly to protect sheep from coyotes, placed in bladders on collared sheep, after a rancher has been issued a permit — but its use is not allowed in Colorado and was only sparingly in three states in 2009.
That it was found to have poisoned a wolf despite being banned for almost 40 years is disturbing on many levels.
“Death by Compound 1080 is prolonged, painful, and excruciating,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring of WildEarth Guardians. “It takes a patient from 3 to 15 hours to die in this horrific way. Yet, Colorado’s wild country is apparently mined with Compound 1080, along with it commonly placed cousin, sodium cyanide, another deadly toxicant, which is put out in wild places in baited M-44 traps.”
The wolf, 341F, was tracked via GPS radio collar, so officials know she died around April 6, 2009, near Rio Blanco County Road 60.
Wolf 341F captured headlines after trekking 1,000 miles from Montana to Colorado. She was found dead in early April 2009 in northwest Colorado. She was 18-months old when she died, having been born into a pack that resided near northern Yellowstone. She was collared as part of a University of Montana research project and left her Montana range in September 2008 in search of a mate. According to her radio collar, she stopped moving at the end of March 2009.
FWS officials investigated the incident at the time and could find no evidence of the poison, either on a downed sheep or in a trap. At this point there’s no physical evidence left, so the FWS is asking the public for help; if you know anything about the poisoning you’re encouraged to call 720/981-2777.