"The M44 cyanide device is used for the elimination of suspected livestock predators, such as coyotes blamed for the loss of profit," R. Andre Bell, public affairs specialist for the USDA, told The Dodo in a statement. "It lures predators with an attractive smell, often from a small piece of bait, then uses a spring to propel a dosage of sodium cyanide into the predator's mouth. The sodium cyanide combines with water in the mouth to produce poisonous cyanide gas."
Cyanide poisoning strangles the animal's cells, making it impossible to absorb oxygen, essentially suffocating the animal to death.
"M44s are a terrible device for killing coyotes by cyanide poisoning, which is a nasty and sickening way to die," Noah Greenwald, endangered species director at the Center for Biological Diversity, told The Dodo. "They should be banned both because they are indiscriminate, killing this wolf as well as often pets and animals, and because killing coyotes in this and other manners is totally ineffective."