Wednesday, July 30, 2014

F&G suspends wolf-killing program in wilderness

Program is part of effort to boost elk numbers


By GREG MOORE
Express Staff Writer

A collared wolf moves through its territory in Idaho. Photo courtesy of Idaho Fish & Game

    The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has told a court that it will not resume a program to kill gray wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness until at least November 2015.
     Through the efforts of a hired trapper, the department killed nine wolves in the central-Idaho  wilderness area between mid-December 2013 and the end of January, when it announced that it had reached its immediate goal.
    The program is part of a larger strategy to help elk recovery in the backcountry. According to the department, elk cows and calves in the Middle Fork area have been vulnerable to predation, and the herd has declined significantly in recent years.  The number of elk calves surviving is too low to replace the adults dying each year, the department stated.
    Five conservation organizations, including the Hailey-based Western Watersheds Project, filed a lawsuit in federal court in January seeking to halt the program. The plaintiffs argued that the Forest Service’s approval and facilitation of the program violated the agency’s duty to protect the area’s wilderness character.
    The district court denied the groups’ request for an injunction, but that decision was appealed to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Pocatello.
    In a declaration filed with the court on July 24, department Wildlife Bureau Chief Jeff Gould stated that it will not conduct any control actions for wolves in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness before Nov. 1, 2015. According to a news release from the plaintiff organizations, the department had previously advised the court that the program could resume as early as Dec. 1, 2014. Department spokesman Mike Keckler declined to comment on the department’s original plan or its reasons for changing it.
    However, the conservation groups credited the lawsuit for pressuring the department into making the change.
    “It is hard to imagine a decision more inconsistent with wilderness protection than to allow the hired killing of wolves,” said Travis Bruner, executive director of Western Watersheds Project, in the news release. “Today, some relief for wild places flows from the news that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game will not continue that odious operation this year. Next we will see whether the Forest Service will take action to protect the Frank Church Wilderness from such atrocities in the future.”
Greg Moore: gmoore@mtexpress.com




About Comments

Comments with content that seeks to incite or inflame may be removed.

Comments that are in ALL CAPS may be removed.

Comments that are off-topic or that include profanity or personal attacks, libelous or other inappropriate material may be removed from the site. Entries that are unsigned or contain signatures by someone other than the actual author may be removed. We will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or any other policies governing this site. Use of this system denotes full acceptance of these conditions. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions. You are fully responsible for the content that you post.

The comments below are from the readers of mtexpress.com and in no way represent the views of Express Publishing, Inc.

You may flag individual comments. You may also report an inappropriate or offensive comment by clicking here.

Flagging Comments: Flagging a comment tells a site administrator that a comment is inappropriate. You can find the flag option by pointing the mouse over the comment and clicking the 'Flag' link.

Flagging a comment is only counted once per person, and you won't need to do it multiple times.

Proper Flagging Guidelines: Every site has a different commenting policy - be sure to review the policy for this site before flagging comments. In general these types of comments should be flagged:

  • Spam
  • Ones violating this site's commenting policy
  • Clearly unrelated
  • Personal attacks on others
Comments should not be flagged for:
  • Disagreeing with the content
  • Being in a dispute with the commenter

Popular Comment Threads



-->
 Local Weather 
Search archives:


Copyright © 2014 Express Publishing Inc.   Terms of Use   Privacy Policy
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.