Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

For Immediate Release

Contact

Suzanne Stone, Senior Rockies and Plains Representative, Defenders of Wildlife (208) 861-4655 sstone@defenders.org

Press Release

Idaho's War on Wolves Escalates

BOISE, Idaho -

On Friday, February 28, Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced that, working together with Wildlife Services, they succeeded in gunning down 23 gray wolves from a helicopter in northern Idaho’s Lolo elk zone near the Idaho/Montana border. The state agency said this killing was necessary to boost elk harvest levels in the area, despite independent scientific peer reviewers’ observations that habitat loss, not predator influence, was the major factor in this localized elk herd decline.

Wildlife Services is currently the object of a formal review being conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General for effectiveness, justifiability and transparency, yet when asked by Defenders of Wildlife in emails on the subject prior to Idaho Fish and Game’s announcement, neither agency revealed its aerial gunning mission that resulted in the deaths of 23 wolves in the state. Defenders is now requesting that a moratorium be placed upon Wildlife Services’ killings of wolves and other top predators  until the Inspector General has completed its audit of the agency’s programs.

Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife Senior Rockies and Plains Representative, and Idaho resident, provided the following statement on the issue:

“This concealed aerial gunning program is just the latest in a series of egregious actions by the state of Idaho and Wildlife Services to irresponsibly drive down the wolf population in Idaho. For example, in January, Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced a new predation management plan, which would enable the agency to kill up to 60 percent of the wolves living in the Middle Fork Zone which includes the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness Area in order to inflate elk populations. The Frank Church Wilderness is the nation’s largest forested wilderness area set aside by Congress as a sanctuary for wildlife to be “untrammeled by man.” There is no livestock there and no excuses that can justify this persecution.

“These actions are a preview of the type of wolf killing that could occur on an even larger scale if Governor “Butch” Otter’s proposed lethal wolf control board is approved by the legislature. If the proposed legislation is enacted establishing this board, Governor Otter will have a green light to wipe out most of the wolves in the state, using tools like Wildlife Service’s  aerial gunning program to accomplish it.

“These agencies are leading the charge against wolves in Idaho by using increasingly aggressive tactics to undermine the American people’s restoration of this species in our national forests and wilderness areas. Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Wildlife Services are killing for killing's sake. There is no rational need for this eradication. USDA Wildlife Services, whose mission it is to help people and wildlife coexist, should not be killing wolves and other predators in a scientifically unsupported attempt to artificially boost game populations. The state of Idaho is proving beyond any doubt that Congress made a mistake when federal protections for wolves were removed in Idaho just three years ago.”

###

Defenders of Wildlife is the premier U.S.-based national conservation organization dedicated to the protection and restoration of imperiled species and their habitats in North America.

Watchdog: Secret Service Didn't Notify Capitol Police of Threat to Pelosi Until After Jan. 6 Attack

"This is deeply disturbing and requires a full investigation," said one legal expert.

Jessica Corbett ·


Advocates Welcome Temporary Block on South Carolina's 6-Week Abortion Ban

"Today's decision is a huge relief for people who desperately need abortion care in South Carolina right now," said one reproductive rights lawyer.

Brett Wilkins ·


Federal Court Strikes Down Ruling That Blocked Biden's Drilling Moratorium

"Today's decision demonstrates how flawed the preliminary injunction issued in June 2021 was, and that Interior must quickly take action to reform the federal fossil fuel program," said one environmental lawyer.

Julia Conley ·


Two Weeks Before Payments Resume, Progressives Tell Biden 'Time to Cancel Student Debt'

U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that "we're having conversations daily with the White House and borrowers will know directly and soon from us when a decision is made."

Jessica Corbett ·


Progressive Mandela Barnes Leads Ron Johnson by 7 Points in New Poll

"People are done being represented by an out-of-touch, self-serving multimillionaire like Ron Johnson," said Wisconsin's Democratic Senate nominee.

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo