Wolves Running Scared

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Suzanne Asha Stone, (208)424-9385 (office), (208)861-4655 (cell)
Erin McCallum, (202)772-3217; (610)207-5209

Wolves Running Scared

Idaho announces plan to eliminate at least 22 percent of current population

WASHINGTON - Yesterday, Idaho Fish and Game announced that beginning September 1,
Idaho will allow 220 wolves to be killed in the first-ever state
regulated hunt of gray wolves in the continental United States – In
response, Defenders of Wildlife and other conservation groups will most
likely file a request for a preliminary injunction to temporarily
restore federal protections to the regional wolf population until the
court reaches a final decision in the plaintiffs’ pending legal
challenge to the delisting.

Idaho’s announcement comes on the heels of Montana’s plan to hunt 75
wolves starting in October. These numbers would be over and above the
wolves already killed each year by other means of lethal control, as
well as natural deaths. All these actions combined threaten the
recovery of the still vulnerable regional wolf population in the
Northern Rockies.

The following is a statement by Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife:

“It is almost beyond comprehension that we find ourselves in this
situation, after coming so close to successfully restoring a population
of wolves to their natural habitat in the Northern Rockies. Now, due to
the ill-advised and overly hasty decision by Secretary Salazar to strip
wolves of federal protections before they were fully recovered, the
states are free to reduce the wolf population down to 150 per state – a
potential loss of over two-thirds of the region’s wolves.”

“The heavy-handed wolf hunt now scheduled by Idaho, together with
the hunt planned by Montana, demonstrates precisely the kind of
irresponsible state management that should have precluded taking the
wolf off the endangered species list at this point in time.”

“Rather than committing to ensure the long-term recovery of wolves,
Secretary Salazar’s decision, like that of his predecessor in the Bush
administration, has forced us again to ask the court to reverse a
delisting rule that threatens to undo the wolf restoration that we have
worked so hard for over the years. Hopefully we can make a difference
before it is too late.”

The following is a statement by Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife:

“We had hoped at this point to be celebrating the recovery of the
gray wolf in the Northern Rockies. Instead, after decades of recovery
efforts, tremendous support and investment from the American public,
impressive efforts by federal, tribal and state wildlife agencies, and
one of the most successful wildlife restorations in history, the future
of the gray wolf in the Rocky Mountains is once again in serious
jeopardy.”

“Idaho hosts the core of the Northern Rockies wolf population, with
approximately 1,000 wolves.  By wiping out 220 wolves, the state will
cripple the regional wolf population by isolating wolves into
disconnected subgroups incapable of genetic or ecological
sustainability.  It’s only a matter of time before Idaho’s state
legislature enforces their demand that all wolves be removed ‘by
whatever means necessary,’ which is still the state’s official policy
on wolves.  Today’s announcement underscores the key problem with the
federal delisting rule: it only requires maintaining 150 wolves per
state. That’s a completely inadequate population goal if you hope to
maintain any semblance of connectivity and genetic viability.”

“Even if Idaho and Montana begin cautiously; the fact remains that
there is absolutely no law or binding commitment in place that could
stop them from decimating the population down to a mere 150 per state.
And even then, there’s no guarantee that the federal government would
step in.”  

“No other endangered species has ever been delisted at such a low
population level and then immediately hunted to even lower
unsustainable levels.  This isn’t wolf recovery; it’s a rejection of
responsible wildlife conservation principles.”   

Learn more about what Defenders is doing for wolves

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Defenders of Wildlife is a national, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities.

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