State seeks to kill N. Idaho wolves

Plan is out in the open-

Although they wanted to just do a quick kill, under the 10j rules Idaho can kill off wolves in an area if wolves are making it so that ID F and G objectives aren’t being meet. They have to perform a ritual first, however.  A delisted population could have just been killed.

Updated story (much longer). State seeks to kill N. Idaho wolves. AP

Idaho Fish and Game says they have done a study that proves this, but they haven’t released the study. There was an article about it in the Idaho Statesman where some figures were given. Ken Cole critiqued it, but if they have proof, let’s see it, or is it a secret?

New Obama Orders on Transparency, FOIA Requests

This should make it easier to get wolf and other wildlife information-

One of the major problems that has emerged in recent years is simply getting information from the federal government which should be by law, freely available. The Bushies made it so the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) was becoming almost useless, and agencies like USFWS and Wildlife Services could withhold anything that made them “uncomfortable.” Lately, that seemed to be just about everything.

As a result, you had to put 2 and 2 together to get real news (or likely) news. For example, yesterday I did a story on the “quick kill” of wolves that Idaho was planning as soon as delisting took place. For several months, conservation groups had expected that this was likely immediately on delisting. However, Montana or Idaho or the federal agencies would hardly tell you this.

As a result, for the story I had to begin with the Idaho Cattle Association meeting held in Sun Valley just after the election and the resolutions they passed. They passed a resolution asking the wolf packs that were “problems” be taken out during the winter even though there were no “depredations” currently (or ever) from those packs. I had to watch what Wildlife Services did, what was being said about wolves in the state legislature where conservation folks attend committee meetings, and watch from stray comments in email or stories on-line to figure out that a quick kill was on its way.

In the near future, a more direct route to stories is likely.

Here the good news story from the Washington Post.

New Obama Orders on Transparency, FOIA Requests
. The Federal Eye. “Keeping Tabs on the Government” by Ed O’Keefe. Washington Post.

The Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit is now genetically extinct

This loss highlights the importance of genetic interchange and landscape-level habitat preservation

Photo Courtesy USFWS

Photo Courtesy USFWS

The Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit has been listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act but efforts to restore the bunny have been unsuccesful.  Even efforts at maintaining as much of the Columbia Basin ancestory/gene by interbreeding with Idaho pygmy rabbits are not looking good.

Last-ditch effort to save pygmy rabbits near an endWenatchee Work Online

Pygmy rabbits are very timid animals, not prone to travel large distances or cross open spaces without cover from predators.  Fragmentation and manipulation of habitat associated with development, livestock grazing, and other activities that degrade the thick old-growth sagebrush pygmy rabbits need to survive is largely responsible for the imperilment of the rabbits.

Update – Dr. Steve Herman explains some history :

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