When Congress passed a federal budget rider that delisted Western gray wolves from Endangered Species Act protections, it opened the floodgates to wholesale slaughter. Idaho’s proposed 2011 Wolf Hunting Season is a statewide bloodbath, with killing permitted both "in and out of hunting season," the Idaho Fish and Game Department promises. Now that "management" of Western gray wolves rests with state agencies, it seems that no plan is too violent or greedy.
STOP WOLF BLOODBATH IN IDAHO
Dear President Obama and Government Officials of the U.S. and Idaho:
With Idaho’s proposed 2011 Wolf Hunting Season on the table, the plight of American wolves goes from bad to worse. It seems that national public outcry falls upon deaf government ears. Still, I ask you to note that I am wholly opposed to lethal "wolf management."
First, a rider passed on the coattails of the federal budget bill that stipulates delisting of Western gray wolves from Endangered Species Act immunity. This action bypassed Endangered Species Act protocol and ignored a prior judicial ruling that struck down delisting of Greater Yellowstone and Northern Rockies wolves. Did legislators who voted to delist wolves by budget rider — leaving their fate in the hands of state game departments — even consider the repercussions?
As a result of the rider, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed safeguards for gray wolves in Idaho, Montana, eastern Oregon, Washington, and northern Utah. Congress, with President Obama’s approval, essentially opened the floodgates to wholesale slaughter.
Idaho’s Fish and Game Department calls for a 7-month kill season (Aug. 30, 2011 to Mar. 31, 2012) that lets hunters use rifles, handguns, shotguns, and bows to kill up to two wolves each. During a planned 10-week trapping season (Dec. 1, 2011 to Feb. 15, 2012), trappers may kill as many as five wolves. Wolves may also be killed incidentally throughout fall’s bear baiting period. Idaho’s proposal lists no statewide kill quota on wolves.
Idaho hopes to "manage" its 705 wolves down to 150 animals, enlisting federal hunters and airborne gunners if the state can’t slay enough wolves on its own.
I urge Idaho’s governor and state agencies to focus on cohabitation rather than ways to kill more wolves and boost revenue from hunting licenses. Please shift to a nonlethal approach for the preemptive reduction of wildlife conflicts, including livestock loss.
I am appalled by both the federal government’s apathy for wolf protection and Idaho’s violent tactics. In fact, I will steer my tourism dollars away from Idaho attractions as long as the state maintains this cavalier attitude about wildlife.
With no definitive conclusion on the "right number" of wolves to constitute recovery, Idaho’s 2011 Wolf Hunting Season shows reckless disregard for the long-term preservation of Western gray wolves and the ecosystem they inhabit.