Pfluger Legislation Allows Ranchers to Protect their Livestock from Caracara Bird of Prey
U.S. Representative August Pfluger (TX-11) introduced legislation to allow producers to protect their livestock from Crested Caracaras (tropical black and white falcons that behave like vultures) that are killing, injuring, or causing destruction to livestock. Representative Henry Cuellar (TX-28) co-led the legislation, and it is supported by the American Sheep Industry and the Texas Sheep & Goat Raisers Association.
Rep. August Pfluger (TX-11): "In the past two decades, destructive Caracara birds of prey have taken up residence throughout Texas and into Louisiana. Lamb producers in our district have seen a significant increase in the number of lambs killed by Caracara's in recent years. Since these predators are protected, it is currently illegal for producers to kill one without prior authorization from the Department of Interior. We should not be protecting tropical birds of prey that are attacking American livestock. My legislation restores the ability of livestock producers to protect their herds from Caracaras."
Texas Sheep & Goat Raisers Association President Rodney Kott: “The TSGRA supports this legislation and its efforts to combat these invasive avian predators. Caracaras cause tremendous harm and significant loss to the sheep and goat industry in the United States.”
American Sheep Industry President Brad Boner: “The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) regularly receives reports of depredation on lambs from avian predators. Our partners in USDA Wildlife Services shares they have increasing complaints of lamb kills by birds, often the Caracaras are the predator. We applaud U.S. Representative August Pfluger’s legislation to help mitigate this predator problem with authorization that sheep producers can Caracaras to prevent death of lambs.”
Despite being a predatory invasive species, the Crested Caracara is currently a protected species under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), which prohibits the take (including killing, capturing, selling, trading, and transport) of protected migratory bird species without prior authorization by the Department of Interior U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
Pfluger’s legislation authorizes covered individuals to take (kill, capture, transport, or disperse), injure or attempt to take a crested caracara that is causing, or that the covered person has a reasonable belief will cause, the death of or injury or destruction to livestock.
Covered individuals are defined within the legislation as a livestock producer or an employee of a livestock producer.
Additionally, the legislation requires a covered individual to submit an annual report to USFWS regional offices documenting each take. The forms producers are required to fill out will be available on the FWS website within 180 days of enactment of this legislation.