Saturday, March 29, 2008
Gray wolf hunts planned after de-listing
How you would feel if someone tells you that a part of the world population is being killed since the population has grown too high? Is this right? What do you feel?
BOISE, Idaho - Good news for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains: They no longer need federal protection. The bad news for the animals? Plans are already in the works to hunt them.
Federal Endangered Species Act protection of the wolves was lifted Friday in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, giving those states management of the estimated 1,500 gray wolves in the region.
Even though environmentalists plan to sue the federal government next month to restore wolf protections, hunts are already being scheduled by state wildlife agencies to reduce the wolf population to between 900 and 1,250.
Idaho hunters will be allowed to kill between 100-300 of the animals this fall under a plan approved by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission. The hunts are partly in response to increasing numbers of livestock being killed as the predators' population has grown.
"We manage big game for a living, we're good at it," said Steve Nadeau, who oversees large carnivores for the Idaho Fish and Game Department. "The world is watching and we know it."
Fish and Game estimates Idaho now has 800 gray wolves. Should the number of breeding pairs in Idaho fall below a target number, the animals could be brought back under federal protection.
After a series of public shouting matches between wolf advocates and opponents, comments from Idaho Department Fish and Game officials on Friday seemed largely designed to reassure both ends of the debate.