Dozens gathered on the steps of the Idaho Statehouse Monday afternoon to show support for wolf recovery in Idaho and opposition to Idaho’s Wolf Depredation Control Board and the recent aerial gunning of wolves in the “Lolo Zone” by the USDA Wildlife Services and Idaho Fish and Game Department.
Demonstrators – from the Defenders of Wildlife and Friends of the Clearwater groups -- want an end to what they called Idaho’s “wasteful Wolf Control Board and the termination of the USDA Wildlife Services aerial gunning program in the Lolo Zone on the Clearwater National Forest.”
The Idaho Fish and Game Department recently announced the completion of an aerial gunning exercise by the USDA Wildlife Services that resulted in the killing of 20 wolves in that area, according to the groups.
The Wolf Control Board is now requesting an additional $400,000 for further wolf “control” actions in 2016.
Demonstrators said, last year, a total of 72 wolves were killed with money from the Wolf Control Board. The Board was awarded $400,000 in 2015. That equates to roughly $5,500 per wolf “control,” the groups said.
The Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board was created two years ago within the Office of the Governor. It is tasked with “directing and managing funds” for the purpose of wolf depredation control within Idaho The law enacted in 2014 is based on the recommendation from the Fish and Game Advisory Committee to Governor Otter addressing wolf depredation funding in Idaho.
Calls to the State Fish and Game Department were not immediately returned.