Ranchers and Wildlife Services are asking for county tax dollars to do it.
Ralph Maughan posted about this recently when it was a big secret, but now it is out in the open. Wildlife Services in Idaho is seeking flexibility to kill wolves several months after depredations have occurred. They have identified 26 packs which they say are “chronically depredating” packs, or packs that have killed at least 3 domestic animals. This definition begs this question; what is the timeframe of the 3 depredations? Could these depredations have occurred over the course of several years and Wildlife Services just wants to settle the score?
This information is confirmed from several sources. The USDA-APHIS IDAHO WILDLIFE SERVICES WOLF ACTIVITY REPORT FISCAL YEAR 2008 states:
If WS efforts to remove depredating wolves during the summer months are unsuccessful, and it may reasonably be expected that depredations will reoccur during the next grazing season, then WS would like to have the flexibility to reinitiate control efforts several months later, during the winter months when implicated wolves may be more vulnerable to removal.
Both the Long Valley Advocate newspaper in Cascade and the Star News in McCall, Idaho published stories this week that report that ranchers and Wildlife Services are asking the counties to make up for State budget shortfalls in funding. Specifically, they asked Valley County commissioners to fork over $5,000 which is twice what they usually contribute to make up for the $10,000 in funding that Governor Otter wants to cut. Note: these local papers are not on-line.
When wolves were under the management of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Carter Niemeyer, livestock producers were required to work proactively before wolves would be killed. There are no such restrictions now under the new 10j [federal] rule. Because livestock operators now lack legal incentive to protect their livestock, it is not surprising that the number killed has increased (and increased more rapidly than the wolf population).
Harry Soulen of Soulen Livestock Company, has received $1,010,401 in subsidies since 1995 (of which $253,986 are called “Conservation Subsidies). According to the Star News in McCall, Idaho, he claims that “if sheepmen must move their flocks into the camp area nightly to protect them, the lambs can lose several pounds each.” There has been no evidence presented to support this and the claim that “wolves seem to reduce the reproduction rates for both the livestock, and also game animals like elk” also reported in the Star News. At any rate, many people believe that the cost of protecting your property on public land should be a cost of doing business.
From the Long Valley Advocate:
Fish and Game says 88 packs are in Idaho. Wildlife Services documented 35 getting in trouble, which is higher than ever; 26 of those packs were involved in three or more depredations each, so they fit the description of chronic depredating pack.
Using the average pack size of 8 this means that 208 wolves could be killed in revenge killings by Wildlife Services.
In addition the Idaho Fish and Game seeks to kill an undetermined number of wolves in northern Idaho.
See: State seeks to kill N. Idaho wolves AP Story in the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
This is a rehash of the withdrawn 2006 plan to kill wolves in the Clearwater Region.
It remains to be determined whether these plans will proceed since delisting was put on hold by the Obama Administration on January 20th but it is apparent that these plans will proceed if wolves are delisted and management is handed over to the State of Idaho. Wildlife Services claims that they can proceed with the plan to kill the 26 packs under the current revised 10j rule which is still being litigated. They say they can also get the “Clearwater Plan” carried out if they can get some biologists to sign off on it.