Wolf pups in Idaho, eager to explore the world around them in warming spring temperatures, risk brutal death due to the inaction of the Biden Administration. While the legal hunting, neck-snaring, and trapping seasons have ended for the year in neighboring Montana, there are no limits on wolf-killing in Idaho.
The toll on Idaho’s wolf population is difficult to estimate. The state publishes no updates on wolves killed and scientists question how the state “counts” its wolf population. The state has no “wolf season” and requires no license or permit to shoot, trap, strangle, or even chase to death wolves in its borders. It even allows private organizations to pay “bounties” for dead wolves.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the Department of the Interior know all of this. Hundreds of scientists along with members of Congress and sitting U.S. Senators have written to Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland asking that she act. The Endangered Species Act gives her office unique discretion in being able to issue emergency protections in situations such as this.
These requests have been met with inaction. Secretary Haaland’s sole response was a paywalled Op Ed in the USA Today in February 2022. In it, she said, “The clock is ticking. We must find solutions that allow wolves to flourish, even while we balance the needs of hunters and ranchers…”
That was more than a year ago. At least 325 wolves have been brutally trapped, gunned down, or killed in strangulation snares in Montana in the following months. In Idaho, we know that at least 192 wolves were killed between the time of Secretary Haaland’s Op Ed and the response to a records request in October 2022. An additional six months of time has almost certainly led to even more killing.
It is time for her to focus on this task and issue the emergency protections that scores of senators, members of Congress, scientists, and even two former directors of the USFWS (1)(2)have asked her to extend. Every week that passes, more wolves are killed in Idaho. Please write a letter-to-the-editor of a paper in your area to publicly pressure Secretary Haaland to finally act.