Although Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG) primarily “manages” wolf populations using hunters and trappers, the agency also authorizes its “control actions” in areas where regulated killing is deemed as an insufficient tool to meet “management” goals.
Idaho’s Lolo Elk Management Zone is in a remote area of the Clearwater National Forest. It’s a steep and rugged landscape that is difficult to access, especially in winter.
Hunters and trappers have reported 24 wolves killed in the Lolo zone during the 2019 season. The current trapping season ends March 31 and the hunting season runs through June 30.
IDFG officials just announced that the agency killed 17 more.
Idaho killed these 17 wolves via its “Wolf Control Program” to boost the elk population for human hunters in the Lolo Elk Management Zone.
According to IDFG, “The Lolo elk population declined drastically from its peak of about 16,000 elk 25 years ago to fewer than 1,000 elk in recent years. Fish and Game biologists estimated 2,000 elk in the zone when it was last surveyed in 2017. “
History tells us, however, that the Lolo elk population dropped to historically low levels before wolves were restored to the region in the mid-1990s. So, in an effort to boost elk numbers for human hunters, Idaho is scapegoating wolves and ignoring the many factors that affect elk population including human activities, weather, disease, and wildfire.
Moreover, 97% of the “Lolo Elk Management Zone” is comprised of public lands. The public lands of the United States harbor some of the greatest resources of our nation and are owned by all Americans. This begs the question, should we allow the killing of wildlife on our public lands to benefit a small faction of hunters in Idaho?
This article was first published by Wold Conservation Center on 16 March 2020.
What you can do
Support ‘Fighting for Wildlife’ by donating as little as $1 – It only takes a minute. Thank you.