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Idaho Refuses to Protect Endangered Wolves

Idaho Refuses to Protect Endangered Wolves

The Idaho governor has told state officials to no longer protect endangered gray wolves or investigate their deaths.

For the past couple of months I’ve been following the story of the gray wolf’s endangered status in the US northwest. The gray wolf was originally listed as an endangered species in 1974, and the species underwent a lengthy recovery process that involved introducing populations from Canada into the US.

Once the gray wolf population had started to stabilize, it was removed from the endangered species list in Idaho and Montana, but remained listed in Wyoming. Hunters in the two delisted states started to hunt gray wolves again, but conservation groups sued the federal government claiming that delisting in some states and not in others was illogical and counterproductive.

TAKE ACTION: Stop the Killing of Idaho Wolves!

A federal judge concurred with their points and relisted the gray wolf as endangered in Idaho and Montana, prompting a lengthy legal battle between those states and the federal government. Both states have taken different stances, and have used different tactics to regain the right to hunt gray wolves, despite the fact they are endangered.

Negotiations between Idaho and the federal government have reached a low point and so Idaho Governor Butch Otter has ordered wildlife officials in the state to no longer protect wolves or investigate their deaths.

Throughout this ordeal, Governor Otter has seemed particularly emotionally invested in hunting wolves. His letter to U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar was combative and angry.

This most recent development seems like the executive branch’s version of holding its breath and stomping its feet.

Idaho’s hands-off policy towards gray wolves will undoubtedly result in hunters going out and shooting wolves in the interim before another body is charged with managing the wolves. If Montana – which is also looking for the right to hunt gray wolves – decides to take the same kind of uncooperative and pertinacious approach as Governor Otter, the situation may degenerate further.

And when things get bad, they always get worse for the animals.

Governor Butch Otter has shown himself to be a single-minded and stubborn man who refuses to cooperate with the proper legal processes involved in wildlife conservation and obviously believes that managing animals and shooting animals are one and the same.

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304 comments

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11:12AM PDT on Sep 7, 2011

Janine H., I love the Native American Proverb and Martin Luther King's quote you put in your message. They are both so true!! Once it is too late then they might realize that they were wrong. Also, I like what Frank P. said about "these clowns need to be helped to extinction"(meaning the Idaho govenor) Idaho, don't be barbarians!! Just going out there for the sake of killing. I saw some of the pictures of the "murderers" and their kill and it is absolutely repulsive!!! Wolves are beautiful creatures and an important part of our eco-system. There are more humane ways(such as getting guardian dogs to protect livestock), not killing them to the point of extintion! I can't believe that the Idaho govenor is actually allowing people to kill an endangered species!! Give your head a shake, Idaho, you'll be crying for the whole world to come to your aid when you don't know what to do because you killed off all the wolves and you created another problem. All self-inflicted!! STOP THE MADNESS NOW!! SAVE THE WOLVES!!!

3:24AM PDT on Jul 23, 2011

This is a very sad story. Other animals and plants have to go only because "we" humans do not want to share the world with other life forms, these life forms "we" would not eat (vegetarian food is not a bad idea, or eating with conscience as the so called primitive cultures did and still do, if they still exist. No meat/fish every day). "We" destroy everything around us and "we" forget, that everything is important to survive, too.

As little child i thought that rain is when God and the angels cry - because "we" humans have forgotten that we need this "intelligence", someone who could help... if "we" hadn't turned away for many centuries ago...

"Only when the last tree has been cut down; Only when the last river has been poisoned; Only when the last fish has been caught; Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten."
(Native American proverb)

"We have learned to fly the air like birds and swim the sea like fish, but we have not yet learned the simple art of living together as brothers." (Martin Luther King)

9:51AM PDT on Apr 6, 2011

You are absolutely right, Colleen.

Hope, you are out of your mind. The true number is much closer to around 2000, even Idaho FWS agrees but they say they do not know for sure. Not enough wolves are collared to keep an accurate track of them. Dr. Mech even admitted back in 2008 that the true number of wolves in the Rockies was 3000, but what does he know, right? :)

They are allowing "boots" on the ground to call in and report wolves they see, number, location, etc. They are getting rid of the collar system. It is old and outdated. About damn time. In my personal opinion, though, this method isn't that good enough either. The wolves need to be removed from the ESA as anyone with a mote of biology knowledge knows Gray wolves aren't endangered. They had to prove that point when they trapped them in Canada. It's about time management returned to the states.

6:29AM PDT on Apr 6, 2011

I have been told those wolves are Canadian imports, and a subspecies, not the same kind of wolf they used to have.
and that a long time ago Defenders of the Wild didn't care about subspecies.
now they do.

7:38PM PDT on Mar 31, 2011

There are approximately 700 wolves in Idaho and only 46 breeding pairs. Governor Otter wants to kill all but 100 including the mothers and puppies. This would jeopardize their future because it would weaken the gene pool. His Wolf Kill is not bases on science but it appears he hates wolves and is rabid to kill one, wanting to be first to do so.

Governor Otter worked for 30 years for Simlot,
an Agr-Business who among other things is involved in all matters of raising beef.

While he has done a few things for his constituents, the things he supports and promotes outweighs them. i.e. voted for 2001 bankruptcy overhaul requiring partial repayment of debt, supports broad based tax cuts (and you know who will get the most out of that,) wants to eliminate the estate tax (which only affects the wealthy,) and supports expanding off shore drilling. Is this really the man the people of Idaho thought he was and they voted for? I hope they will oppose this action and stand up for the animals and environment and not pander to the special interests.

Montana, Eastern Washington, and Oregon's wolves are also in danger.

1:22PM PDT on Mar 31, 2011

Please, Hunters. Leave wolves alone. You are driving them to extinction. These are the ancestors of our dogs.

4:32AM PDT on Mar 31, 2011

Eating potatoes obviously has affected Idaho's governor's intelligence quotient. These clowns are the one's who need to be helped to extinction. The rest of the world would be a better place without them.

10:26AM PST on Feb 16, 2011

Je savais les Etats Unis peu regardants sur leur environnement, plus ointéressés par le fait de pouvoir faire joujou avec leurs armes à feu, mais la Nature merite mieux que de servir de terrain de jeux à des Big Jim decerebrés. SAUVONS LES LOUPS GRIS... et toutes les especes en peril. Ou toutes les especes sauvages ne seront connues par les prochaines generations que par les images numerisées avant leur extinction.

7:37AM PST on Feb 15, 2011

signed. Wolfes need protection. How can this state reacts like that. Are they human?

10:59AM PST on Feb 14, 2011

If specific wolves are proven to be predating on livestock, then shooting is a rational act. The vast majority of packs stay away from humans and livestock. It should generally be the job of state officials to do any removal of wolves. The exception would be ranchers who can show evidence that they are losing livestock to a particular pack of wolves. Certainly hunters should not be free to shoot on sight just for the sake of "bagging" a wolf. A rancher who knows he has rogue wolves killing his animals should have the right to shoot to protect, and only to protect, his livestock. Shooting clubs and the like should never be enabled to hunt wolves. That is disgusting.

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