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Protecting Wildlife: Advocating Against Aerial Gunning in Idaho’s National Forests


At the Wolf Conservation Center (WCC), we stand in solidarity with a coalition of organizations in the fight against aerial gunning and other predator control activities by private contractors in Idaho’s national forests. This issue is not just about the wolves, though they’ll certainly be affected; it’s about protecting the delicate balance of ecosystems and ensuring the welfare of all wildlife.

Private Contractors To Use Aerial Gunning

The Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board, funded primarily by taxpayer dollars, has sanctioned the use of private contractors to eliminate predators, including wolves, through aerial gunning across various game management units in Idaho. These units intersect with public lands and national forests like the Caribou-Targhee, Boise, Salmon-Challis, Sawtooth, and Payette National Forests, posing a significant threat to wildlife and environmental integrity.

Aerial gunning is a cruel and indiscriminate method of predator control that involves gunners using airplanes or helicopters to chase and shoot animals. While the primary targets may be wolves, the collateral damage extends to non-target species, including federally listed mammals like grizzly bears, Canadian lynx, wolverines, and other wildlife. The disturbance caused by low-level flights and associated noise can disrupt habitats, trigger stress responses, and even lead to the displacement of animals from their natural territories.

An Unacceptable Decision

The recent decision by the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board to allocate funds for aerial gunning and predator control activities is alarming. These actions not only jeopardize the lives of wolves, which Idaho plans to kill the majority of, but also compromises the integrity of our national forests and the well-being of other wildlife species. It’s imperative that we address these threats head-on and advocate for responsible conservation practices.

In response to these concerning developments, a coalition of conservation organizations, has petitioned the Forest Service to prohibit aerial gunning and other predator control activities by private contractors on national forest lands in Idaho. This petition calls upon Forest Service officials to use their authority to enact regulations or issue orders that prioritize the protection of wildlife and the preservation of natural ecosystems.

The WCC supports this petition and urges Forest Service officials to take decisive action to safeguard wildlife and public interests. By prohibiting aerial gunning and other harmful predator control activities, we can uphold the principles of conservation and promote coexistence between humans and wildlife.

The impact of aerial gunning extends beyond the immediate loss of individual animals; it disrupts the intricate web of relationships within ecosystems, affecting prey populations, predator-prey dynamics, and overall biodiversity. Protecting wolves and other predators is not just a moral imperative; it’s essential for maintaining healthy and resilient ecosystems.

Join Our Mission

At the Wolf Conservation Center, we believe in the power of education, advocacy, and collaboration to effect positive change. By raising awareness about the threats facing wolves and advocating for policy reforms, we can work towards a future where wildlife is valued, respected, and protected. We call upon Forest Service officials to prioritize the conservation of our national forests and the well-being of wildlife by prohibiting aerial gunning and other harmful predator control activities. Together, we can build a world where wolves and other species can thrive in harmony with humans and nature.

Our ability to take on these fights depends on supporters like you who dream of a future where wolves and other predators can live in harmony with humans. Every dollar you donate contributes directly to that dream. As always, thank you for your continued support.