In mid-December 2013 Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) hired a hunter-trapper to pack into central Idaho’s 2.4-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to eradicate two wolf packs, the Golden and Monumental packs, in the interest of inflating elk populations for outfitters and recreational hunters. The U.S. Forest Service, which administers the wilderness, approved the extermination program by authorizing use of a Forest Service cabin and airstrip to support wolf extermination activities.
In response to this unprecedented move, a coalition of conservationists, represented by the non-profit environmental law firm Earthjustice, asked a federal judge in Idaho to halt the agencies’ wolf eradication plan.
“A wilderness is supposed to be a wild place governed by natural conditions, not an elk farm,” said Earthjustice attorney Timothy Preso. “Wolves are a key part of that wild nature and we are asking a judge to protect the wilderness by stopping the extermination of two wolf packs.”
Unfortunately, on January 17 the U.S. District Judge for Idaho denied the plaintiffs’ case because:
1) The US Forest Service’s decision to allow IDFG to use the cabin and airstrip at Cabin Creek was not a final agency action that is reviewable.
2) The removal of wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness does not constitute irreparable harm because the actions don’t irreparably harm the species as a whole.
The trapper has killed 9 wolves so far.
Many Wolf Conservation Center (WCC) supporters have been in touch to express their concern and outrage. Sadly, the Idaho wolves targeted by IDFG’s hired gun may not be the only lives in danger. Many worry that IDFG’s wolf eradication plan will set a precedent for other states and thus threaten additional wolves and wildlife in other prime wilderness areas. The Wilderness System is national, and mostly on national forests. While we sincerely hope that the plaintiffs win their pending lawsuit against IDFG’s activities in the Frank Church, it isn’t nearly enough.
Please join the WCC and take action by contacting the Chief of the Forest Service, Tom Tidwell, at firstname.lastname@example.org to remind him:
- Our Nation’s Wilderness areas are places for wildlife to remain as wild as is possible in today’s modern world
- Our Nation’s Wilderness areas are meant to be governed by natural conditions, not special interest groups.
Please be sure to tell Mr. Tidwell this is not just an issue for one Idaho Wilderness area, but the US Wilderness system.
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