We’re suing to protect wolves in Idaho

On December 6, Wilderness Watch and a dozen allies filed a lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order/preliminary injunction against the State of Idaho over its barbaric new wolf-killing laws that could not only kill up to 90 percent of wolves in the state, but injure and kill other imperiled species such as grizzly bears and Canada lynx, both of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act and are present where wolves are being targeted. Wolves were protected under the Endangered Species Act until Congress de-listed them in 2011.

Idaho’s new laws radically increase wolf killing, including within millions of acres of designated Wilderness, through largely unrestricted year-round hunting, trapping, and snaring with no limit on the number of wolves a person can kill. Idaho has even established a “bounty system” where wolf-killers can be paid for each dead wolf they bring in. The new laws also increase the risk of death and injury to other animals. In 2020 alone, two grizzly bears were killed in North Idaho after being caught in wolf snares. One of those grizzlies was found dead with a wolf snare sinched around its neck and another snare wrapped around its paw. Grizzlies in Idaho and Montana have also been caught in foothold traps. 

“Idaho’s persecution of wolves has reached an astounding new low,” said Dana Johnson, staff attorney for Wilderness Watch’s Idaho office. “The collateral killing and harassment of already struggling lynx and grizzly bears is both unacceptable and illegal. It has to stop.”

Idaho’s Senate Bill 1211 authorizes year-round wolf trapping on private property, and the purchase of an unlimited number of tags per person to hunt, trap, or snare wolves in any hunting unit with an open wolf season at the time a wolf is killed. SB 1211 also grants residents permission to kill wolves they perceive are threatening livestock or pets. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game amended the State’s wolf hunting and trapping seasons after SB 1211 went into effect on July 1, creating new hunting seasons on public lands with no weapon restrictions and year-round trapping on private lands.

Earthjustice is representing Wilderness Watch and our co-plaintiffs.


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Photo: USFWS

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