BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — The black vulture population has increased in Illinois in recent years, particularly in the southern portion of the state. These birds often prey on young livestock, causing injury and sometimes death, creating major financial losses for some livestock farmers.
Illinois Farm Bureau (IFB) has obtained a statewide depredation permit for black vultures from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). IFB will work with USDA Wildlife Services to issue federal sub-permits to livestock farmers who are experiencing issues with black vultures on their land. IFB will also work with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) to secure the necessary state permits for farmers seeking approval.
“In an effort to speed up the process and reduce application costs, Illinois Farm Bureau will hold the federal depredation permit for livestock farmers facing problems resulting from black vultures,” said IFB President Richard Guebert. “This process will also help farmers quickly receive a state permit from IDNR. We are hopeful that this effort will help reduce conflict between the black vulture population and livestock production.”
Black vultures, which have a dark gray head and are aggressive, should not be confused with their larger, less aggressive and red-headed relative, the turkey vulture. Turkey vultures may be found throughout Illinois. Black vultures live in southern regions but are expanding their range further north, creating depredation problems for farmers.
As migratory birds, black vultures are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, state laws and regulations, therefore, they can’t be killed or destroyed without a migratory bird depredation permit from USFWS and a class B nuisance wildlife control permit from IDNR.
“The Illinois Department of Natural Resources has been cooperating with the Illinois Farm Bureau and USDA Wildlife Services to develop a streamlined process for livestock producers to receive federal and state permits for removing black vultures that can be harmful to their operations,” IDNR Director Colleen Callahan said. “I am pleased that we were able to collaborate to build a process that provides relief to Illinois stockmen while still meeting our obligation to conserve protected species.”
IFB will issue sub-permits as a benefit to livestock farmers who are experiencing problems with black vultures and assist in securing IDNR’s required permit. The sub-permit is available to livestock farmers facing depredation of commercial livestock, which includes cattle, horses, sheep, goats and swine.
Approved applicants will be allowed a maximum of three birds, determined after consultation with USDA Wildlife Services. Following the consultation and approval, a state permit will also be provided by IDNR. Applicants must agree to follow all rules and regulations required by USFWS in the IFB statewide permit and the requirements of the IDNR permit.
Interested livestock producers may request a sub-permit application by contacting Illinois Farm Bureau Associate Director of Commodity and Livestock, Tasha Bunting, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Illinois Farm Bureau is a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, a national organization of farmers and ranchers. Founded in 1916, IFB is a non-profit, membership organization directed by farmers who join through their county Farm Bureau. IFB has a total membership of more than 372,326 and a voting membership of 77,462. IFB represents three out of four Illinois farmers.
— Illinois Farm Bureau