The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services plans to kill 80% of the wolves living in central Idaho as part of a predator control program. Formerly known as Animal Damage Control, Wildlife Services is notorious for killing wolves, mountain lions, bears, and coyotes in their mission to "provide Federal leadership in managing problems caused by wildlife." Their lesser-known victims include skunks, feral pigs, mourning doves, blackbirds, starlings and pigeons. In 2009, the agency killed over 4 million animals.
While gray wolves in the Northern Rockies are protected under the Endangered Species Act, the population in central Idaho is listed as "experimental, non-essential." This means that gray wolves in central Idaho can be killed by Wildlife Services and can be killed by ranchers if they are seen attacking livestock. Yes, it's still about the livestock.
It's also about hunting. Another reason Idaho Fish and Game wants to kill wolves is because they claim the wolves are threatening the elk population. They want to kill 40-50 wolves in their Lolo zone, yet they are selling 1,492 elk hunting permits for that same zone this year. It doesn't seem like the wolves are to blame for any decline in the elk population.
Two groups have webforms that seek nonlethal solutions to wildlife conflicts. Defenders of Wildlife is asking USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to implement nonlethal solutions for wolves in central Idaho.
The Humane Society of the US webform asks Vilsack to end the use of two "predator poisons," which are not only cruel to the coyotes, mountain lions and foxes, but also kill non-target animals like dogs, bald eagles and California condors.
- Speak out against killing wolves in central Idaho with this webform from Defenders of Wildlife.
- Speak out against predator poisons with this webform from HSUS.
Alan and Sandy Carey / Getty Images.
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