Thursday, June 24, 2021
Wolf Bill Called a Death Warrant
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Wolves are in the cross-hairs as a result of a bill Gov. Little signed into law. PHOTO: Idaho Fish and Game
   
Saturday, May 8, 2021
 

BY KAREN BOSSICK

If you love wolves or believe they have a place in the ecosystem, you might want to warn them: “They’re coming for you.”

Idaho Gov. Brad Little has signed a controversial bill that allows 90 percent of the wolf population in Idaho—or, up to 1,350 wolves—to be killed.

It’s estimated 150 wolves will be left.

About 500 wolves were killed in the state in 2020 and 2019 through hunting and trapping. But the new law allows the animals to be shot from snowmobiles and ATVs and with the use of baiting and night-vision goggles. It also uses taxpayer money to pay private contractors to kill wolves.

Those who backed the bill said the wolf population in Idaho is too high. Those decrying the bill include the Humane Society of the United States, the Center for Biological Diversity, which called it “a cruel and ill-conceived bill,” and Idaho Fish and Game.

Amanda Wight, program manager of wildlife protection for the Humane Society of the United States called the bill “a death warrant.”

The state could lose $18 million in wildlife management funding under the Pittman-Robertson Act.

A large number of Wood River Valley residents galvanized to ask the governor to reject the bill.

Among them: Ketchum resident Sarah Michael, who said that the Wood River Wolf Project has proven that nonlethal measures, lights, noise, livestock guardian dogs, human presence and electric fences with flags can keep wolve away from livestock, rendering such extreme eradication measures unnecessary.

“The Idaho cattlemen and sheep producers, along with the Idaho Trappers and other anti-wolf groups, are crying ‘wolf’ despite the fact that very few livestock are killed and the ranchers get paid for losses,” she said.

The overall elk population in Idaho has increased over the 25 years since wolves were reintroduced, she added, leading Idaho Fish and Game managers to call this “the second Golden Age of Idaho elk hunting.”


 

 

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