Montana is angry over the federal court ruling that returned wolves to protected under the Endangered Species Act. Now, like Idaho before them, Montana's Governor Brian Schweitzer has issued a letter to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar declaring a war on wolves.
Gov. Schweitzer has ordered Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to no longer investigate wolves killed by people. He argues that ranchers need to defend their livestock from wolves and is giving the green light to kill any and all wolves deemed a threat. FWP has been instructed to take out entire packs that may have preyed on livestock. No proof needed.
Additionally, to protect elk for hunters, all wolves in the Bitterroot Valley are to be eliminated. This despite the increase in elk harvested by human hunters this winter. Wolves are being blamed for low elk numbers but there are obviously enough elk for humans and wolves.
The purpose of the letter is to object to federal management of wolves. However, this act will have the consequence of increasing federal presence in the state.
Gov. Schweitzer needs to hear that his plan is ill conceived and reckless. In order to obtain his goal of state management of wolves, all states with the Northern Rockies population of wolves need a sustainable wolf plan. Montana and Idaho have cooperated. Wyoming is holding out. Pressure needs to be placed on Wyoming, not the feds. In the meantime, Gov. Schweitzer needs to retract his declaration of war on wolves.
Photo Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service