DAVIDSONVILLE, MD. (April 28, 2022) — Maryland Farm Bureau (MDFB), in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), announced that producer permits for the control of black vulture depredation are now available, and can be obtained through MDFB. Black vultures can kill livestock young and damage property. They can work together as a “wake” and attack an animal to the point of death or need of euthanasia.
As black vultures have been traced from migratory origin, they are protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, and can only be lethally controlled through USFWS permits.
USFWS and MDFB suggest trying non-lethal means to manage black vultures first, but know that the loss of livestock young, among other damage, affects Maryland farmers’ bottom lines. The wakes of black vultures often target the soft tissue, like eyes, noses and tongues, of their prey.
“Unlike turkey vultures, black vultures will actually attack live, young or weak animals, such as lambs, calves and piglets, usually working as a group,” said Tyler Hough, Eastern Shore regional manager of MDFB. “This goes beyond an annoyance and is not only sad, but damaging to profits. We have been given the authority by USFWS to help expedite the process for farmers to get the vulture control producer permits. This should help reduce costs to farmers, as well.”
Producer permits will be issued to livestock operations only. Applications will be scored based on past livestock losses, number of livestock on the applicant’s farming operation, number of black vulture roosts and birds in the immediate vicinity, and the county ranking of livestock. A maximum of three “takes” may be issued to an approved applicant and will be determined by the application score. Applicants must agree to follow all rules and regulations required by USFWS in the MDFB statewide permit.
You must be a livestock producer to qualify for the producer permits. Producers in need may request a producer permit application by emailing Tyler Hough at email@example.com or by calling 410-922-3426, ext. 320.
“There are legal methods of removing black vultures, but they are limited,” said Hough. “Things like harassment, habitat clean-up and livestock management can serve as a first line of defense.”
These practices include:
Producers experiencing extensive depredation issues or having large black vulture roosts on their property are encouraged to reach out to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Wildlife Services to review the conflict and to develop a comprehensive management plan.
The permits will be valid through January 31, 2023, and must be renewed annually. It is against federal law to kill a black vulture without a federally issued permit.
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MARYLAND FARM BUREAU®, INC. is a 501(c)(5) federation that serves as the united voice of Maryland farm families. Our organizational strength comes from the active participation of over 10,000 individual and family members who belong to the state’s 23 local county Farm Bureau organizations. Since 1915, Maryland Farm Bureau has been committed to protecting and growing agriculture and preserving rural life. Maryland Farm Bureau is a proud member of the American Farm Bureau® Federation. www.mdfarmbureau.com
Amber Pearson | Maryland Farm Bureau, Inc. (TSN Communications)
573.268.6853 | firstname.lastname@example.org