The first in a series of Idaho Department of Fish & Game public meetings on Idaho’s Wolf Management Plan took place in Jerome last night. The plan, IDFG maintains, is the result of a series of stakeholders’ meetings that included Livestock interests, sporting interests – including Sportsmen for Fish and Wildlife, and conservation interests represented by the Idaho Conservation League and Defenders of Wildlife.
There is no measure of the restorative niche that this predator contributes throughout Western ecosystems planned to be taken by IDFG, nor does the wolves’ important role inform management in any way other than to trip measures of “control”. State management’s posture maintains wolves as problematic and seemed to pay little heed to any interest other than Livestock and big docile game. Even in maintaining 10 – 15 packs in the state, the motive was characterized in terms of protecting Livestock and big game interests from future federal protection of wolves.
The theme of this meeting was “CONFLICT” and that the management of wolves will be based on predominantly two things:
The first is that management will focus on “control” of wolves in conflict with livestock – on public land or otherwise – and on “control” of wolves in conflict with large game objectives – elk and deer. “Controls” include hunting, trapping, and a continued reliance on Wildlife Services. No mention of poison either way. Management zones will mirror big game hunting zones, an arrangement that makes it easier to determine allowable wolf numbers within each zone in reaction to “conflicts” and to big game objectives for particular zones.
The second basis for management is to prevent re-listing. This is the only metric that is evaluated in terms of the wolves themselves being of any value. 10 -15 packs will be maintained.
In all fairness a couple wolf watching areas would be established once IDFG can identify areas in Idaho that will not interfere with Livestock’s intolerance nor big game objectives. These areas came about in response to conservation steakholders’ participation in the plan’s behind closed doors development.
Funds for management will no longer be appropriated by federal legislative earmark, instead the Executive budget will appropriate monies for the state to manage wolves.