According to the Spokane Spokesman Review, the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition is nearing its fund raising goal of $150,000 for a planned lawsuit against state and federal officials over the reintroduction of gray wolves to Idaho.
Wolves had been eradicated in Idaho in the early 20th century, but were reintroduced in the state in 1995. Since then the wolves have thrived, leading environmentalists to hail the success of the reintroduction program, while farmers, hunters and others argue it has been an unmitigated disaster for Idaho wildlife.
In 2001, the state passed a resolution expressing its desire to have the wolves removed from Idaho “by any means necessary.”
Much of the debate turns on disputes over the number of wolves and their hunting habits. Federal and state officials estimate there are less than 300 wolves in Idaho. The Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition maintains there are between 800 and 1,000 wolves. Similarly, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service argues that each wolf eats the equivalent of one elk per month, while the Anti-Wolf Coalition claims they eat closer to two elk per month and kill the equivalent of four additional elk.
The Coalition seeks two things — they want “the immediate removal of the Canadian gray wolf from Idaho” and they want compensation from federal, state, and environmental groups for the taking of wildlife by the wolves.
The gray wolf in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming is currently on the endangered species list. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has made it clear that it will delist the gray wolf as soon as all three state provide plans for managing the wolf populations that can meet its approval. In January the USFWS approved both Idaho’s and Montana’s plan to use a combination of trapping and hunting to manage the wolf population, but so far has rejected Wyoming’s plan which would allow farmers and others to shoot wolves on sight in some circumstances.
Until Wyoming submits a plan that passes muster with the USFWS, however, neither Idaho nor Montana will be allowed to manage its wolf population.
Crowd favors getting rid of wolves – Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition says support growing. James Hagengruber, Spokane Spokesman-Review (Washington state), January 12, 2004.
Idaho coalition seeks to eliminate fast-breeding wolf. Valerie Richardson, THe Washington Times, October 19, 2003.
Idaho’s wolf plan approved by feds. James Hagengruber, Spokane Spokesman Review (Washington state), January 15, 2004.