FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Conservationists call for veto of wolf eradication bill
Talasi Brooks, Western Watersheds Project (208) 336-9077
Garrick Dutcher, Living With Wolves (208) 726-3987
Suzanne Asha Stone, International Wildlife Coexistence Network, (208) 861-5177
BOISE, Ida.—Today the Idaho Legislature passed S. 1211, a bill that seizes wildlife management authority from the Idaho Fish and Game Commission and aims to reduce Idaho’s wolf population by 90 percent, largely on the public’s dime. Governor Little should veto the bill, which is a power grab by the Idaho Legislature eroding the powers of the Executive Branch and inserting politics in decision-making that should be reserved for science-based wildlife management by agency professionals. The bill will waste millions of dollars of public funds on killing wolves, and threatens to ultimately return the species to the endangered species list and federal management.
S. 1211 aims to reduce Idaho’s wolf population to 150 wolves, the bare minimum population to avoid re-listing under the Endangered Species Act. It does this by allowing for killing wolves by all methods used to kill coyotes and wild dogs, including night hunting and aerial gunning; allowing unlimited wolf trapping and snaring on private lands; and increasing funding for the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board, among other measures. If the bill becomes law, there will be no margin for error. Conservationists stand ready to compel an Endangered Species Act listing if viable wolf populations aren’t sustained in the face of these heavy-handed new methods.
The Idaho Legislature’s lavish spending on wolf killing in S. 1211 vastly surpasses the value of the livestock lost to wolf predation. In 2018, for instance, 3 percent of reported sheep losses, valued at $154,000 were caused by wolf predation; meanwhile 74 percent, valued at $4,027,000, were due to natural causes including disease and bad weather. In 2020, of 2.5 million cattle and 300,000 sheep in Idaho, only 102 were confirmed lost to wolf predation. 93 of 1,500 wolves in Idaho