It's long past time for the Forest Service to end Idaho's wolf slaughter in Wilderness!
Over the last few years, gray wolves have been slaughtered on public lands and Wilderness areas across Montana, Wyoming, and Idaho, following the removal of their Endangered Species Act protections and their subsequent “management” by the states. The state of Idaho has taken it a step further, with its War on Wolves carried to horrific ends via grotesque methods and policies. Making matters worse is that in many cases, Idaho’s disgusting efforts are being aided and abetted by the U.S. Forest Service (FS).
You may recall that in 2013, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) hired a professional trapper to wipe out as many wolf packs as possible in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. Incredibly, the FS went along with this plan, even aiding the trapping effort via use of FS facilities. Wilderness Watch and other conservation groups filed a lawsuit to stop this slaughter and the trapper was pulled from the Wilderness before finishing his job. In 2015 IDFG decided against hiring the trapper to kill more wolves in the Wilderness.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. IDFG still had a plan to eradicate 60 percent of wolves in the heart of the Wilderness, and it devised a helicopter-assisted collaring project to support that plan. The plan was simple, though not straightforward. Use helicopters to capture and collar elk in order to prove that wolves kill elk, which then justifies Idaho killing the wolves. Once again, the FS authorized it.
In 2017, thanks to another lawsuit by Wilderness Watch and our allies, a federal judge ruled that the FS illegally authorized IDFG to carry out its elk collaring plan. During the illegal operations, IDFG also unlawfully collared four wolves despite clearly not having authorization to target wolves.
Fast-forward to January 2020 when IDFG increased wolf-killing quotas to an obscene 30 wolves per hunter and trapper per year and greatly expanded the wolf-hunting and trapping seasons across Idaho, including deep within Wilderness. The Forest Service sat idly by, despite having the authority to intervene in the slaughter and despite having the responsibility to protect the wilderness character of all Wildernesses.
But that’s not all! IDFG just announced that in February they slaughtered 17 wolves via aerial gunning in the “Lolo elk zone,” which consists almost entirely of national forest lands, much of which is roadless and incredibly remote. The FS has let IDFG conduct similar wolf-gunning actions in the “Lolo elk zone” eight times over the last nine years.
Why does Idaho have such a maniacal obsession with killing wolves? Because wolves have the audacity to eat elk that Idaho believes should be the sole domain of elk hunters. The U.S. Forest Service needs to put a stop to this 19th century management scheme on our public lands!
Let’s be crystal clear: The U.S. Forest Service is not standing up to the Idaho Department and Fish and Game, making the FS entirely complicit in the ongoing slaughter of wolves within federal Wildernesses and national forests across the state. The Forest Service could put a halt to Idaho’s killing on our national forests—lands that belong to all Americans—but it refuses to do so.
A recent court case confirmed the FS’s authority to rein in IDFG’s barbaric wolf-slaughtering operations within National Forests. It’s way past time for the FS take action, so please speak out for wolves and wilderness!
Please write to the two responsible U.S. Forest Service officials—the Regional Foresters in Regions One and Four—and demand they put a stop to Idaho’s horrific predator killing programs on our public lands! National forests and Wilderness aren’t game farms, they exist to protect all wildlife whether the State of Idaho likes it or not.
We’ve composed a sample letter for you, but highly encourage you to let the Forest Service know how you feel, using your own words.
There are no officials for you to contact on Twitter.