Helicopter Gunning Kills 23 Wolves in Idaho: On Friday, February 28, Idaho Department of Fish and Game announced that, working with Wildlife Services, they had gunned 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 changes, not predators, have been 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, and Defenders is requesting a moratorium on Wildlife Services’ killings of wolves and other top predators until the Inspector General has completed its audit of the agency’s programs. To help support our work protecting wolves in Idaho and across the U.S., click here.
Urge Secretary Jewell to Abandon Gray Wolf Delisting Proposal — Call Your Representative By March 14: Congressman Peter DeFazio is heading up efforts to rally his fellow congressmen into action to save America’s gray wolves. After an independent panel of expert scientists said the Service did not use the best available science in their delisting proposal, Congressman DeFazio authored a letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell requesting that she withdraw the current delisting proposal because it is premature and unjustified. Thank you to all Defenders members who have already called their representatives urging them to sign this letter. Already, 31 representatives have signed the letter, and we have until March 14th to ask for additional signers. You can help by calling your local representative today. Secretary Jewell has the power to change the deadly direction that wolves are headed and we are hopeful she will listen to these legislators.
Washington Wildlife Agency Urged to End Support for Abolishing Federal Wolf Protections: Eleven conservation organizations representing hundreds of thousands of Washington residents sent a letter to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife today urging the state agency to rescind its support for stripping wolves of federal Endangered Species Act protections. The agency has repeatedly expressed support for dropping federal safeguards, most recently in a letter sent to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Dec. 13, 2013.
The delisting runs counter to the best available science and ignores the values of the vast majority of Washington residents who want to see federal wolf protections maintained. In a statement to the press on this issue, Defenders Senior Representative of the Rockies and Plains, Suzanne Stone, said: “Washington state should withdraw their support of the Service’s delisting proposal and instead advocate that the Service follow the best available science, as required by law, to chart a sustainable recovery path for wolves in Washington and throughout the U.S.”
The Latest on Idaho Governor Otter’s Wolf Control Board: Legislation to authorize Gov. Otter’s “Wolf Control Board” is still being considered by the Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee; the Committee will vote on the legislation in the coming days. If passed in its current condition, funds for the wolf control board will support lethal wolf management strategies exclusively. Defenders staff continue to petition state legislators, requesting they modify the legislation to include nonlethal control methods as options. Please look for updates on this issue here next week.