Leaked memo shows massive effort coming to kill off Idaho wolves-
The memo below from Cal Groen, Director of the Idaho Fish and Game Department confirms my call about six months ago that the Department was working with, or told to work with livestock interests to devise a method for a massive wolf reduction program.
The memo essentially says that many parts of Idaho where wolves now live, and where the Idaho Wolf Plan said wolves could live, will actually be frequently swept clear of them by Wildlife Services. The excuse will be the relatively minor livestock damage that takes place.
This, no doubt, includes the Sawtooth Valley and the entire Sawtooth National Recreation Area. In fact, it includes almost all of Idaho where there are any livestock. This has the effect of making Idaho’s wolf plan into something very much like Wyoming’s plan, namely to keep the wolves out of most the state — the very reason why the wolf was not delisted in Wyoming in the first place.
Wyoming was upfront about it. They would kill wolves as varmints in 87% of the state. Idaho claimed that wolves would be allowed to inhabit any part of the state. The wolves would be judged on their behavior. This no doubt impressed the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In fact, livestock politicians were planning to make most of Idaho a no wolf zone just as Wyoming was. However, they were more clever and more sneaky than Wyoming.
This memo makes it very clear why they want to radio collar the wolves in the Frank. We never could get a straight answer from Mark Gamblin about this. They would like to limit wolves to a few Wilderness areas.
The Idaho wolf hunt has not killed very many wolves, and it won’t kill many more. That is because Idaho is the most rugged state in the union, so where wolves can best hide out. Therefore, they are implementing this plan to be conducted by Wildlife Services.
This is like a hundred years ago. Wolves were not wiped out by hunters. They were wiped out by the federal government in league with livestock associations. Then they used poison. Poison is out for now. Instead they have radio collars and expensive gunships.
Although this memo was leaked on a bowhunt site by Nate Helm, who heads a group nominally in favor of more deer and elk, it is really a plan by the livestock industry, for the livestock industry and justified by the killing of a trivial amount of livestock.
To raise money, many national groups have focused on the wolf hunt, but they need to be like Western Watersheds Project and focus on the enemy of wolves and pretty much all wildlife, and enemy of real hunters* too — the public lands livestock industry. The threat to wolves is not hunters. It is the rural livestock aristocracy . . . the folks that are killing our bighorn sheep, steal grass from elk, who have ruined stream fishing for a century, and spread cheatgrass all over creation.
Readers of this memo will also note they are cooperating with Montana to kill wolves. So folks should be wary about that state too.
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Feb. 10, 2010
TO: Regional Supervisors FROM: Cal Groen, Director SUBJECT: Response to wolf depredations on livestock C: Fish and Game Commissioners, Jim Unsworth, Virgil Moore, Mark Collinge, Nate Fisher, Bonnie Butler
Despite our increased response to controlling wolves depredating on livestock in recent years, wolf depredation complaints continued to increase. In November 2008 the Idaho Fish and Game Commission directed IDFG “To develop and aggressively utilize all available tools and methods to control wolf caused depredation of domestic livestock.”
Responding to that directive, our control efforts have progressed as follows:
• Decentralized decision-making to Regional Supervisors when authorizing removal of depredating wolves. • Extended the effective period for take orders by USDA Wildlife Services (WS) and kill permits (livestock owners) from 45 to 60 days following the most recent depredation incident.
• Authorized additional WS wolf removals and extended kill permits based on recurring incidents or chronic history of the wolf pack involved.
• Allowed kill permit designees to include all members of a grazing association during their entire grazing season.
• Increased authorization to remove most or all of the members of wolf packs involved in chronic depredations where there has been a history of depredations from previous years.
• Developed area-specific harvest objectives for the 2009-2010 wolf hunting season to address livestock conflicts.
• Authorized take orders during open hunting season when hunting proved ineffective to remedy chronic depredations.
• Increased coordination between Montana and Idaho WS. IDFG authorized WS control actions in response to 160 confirmed and 43 probable wolf depredations on livestock during federal FY2009. These control actions resulted in removal of 107 wolves including complete, or nearly complete removal of 6 entire packs (Middle Creek, Snake River, Applejack, Falls Creek, Sage Creek, Blue Bunch) as authorized by IDFG. Fish and Game authorized the removal of the Blue Bunch pack but complete removal was not achieved during the federal FY2009 period.
Since the end of the federal FY in September 2009, IDFG has authorized the complete removal of all, or nearly all, members of 3 additional packs (Basin Butte, Steel Mountain, Sweet-Ola) in response to repeated depredations caused by these packs.
Although the Department has documented nearly 300 wolf mortalities in 2009, livestock losses continue at an unacceptable level. As a result, we need to renew our commitment to meeting the Commission’s directive to reduce livestock depredations.
With due consideration to maintaining linkage corridors, we will recommend to the Commission increasing harvest limits in 2010 and expanding season dates in wolf zones with chronic depredations.
Further, in high conflict areas where a history of depredations exists, we will respond to a confirmed depredation incident more aggressively by authorizing WS to remove all involved depredating wolves.
Additionally, I am committing staff to work cooperatively with WS to evaluate the effectiveness of alternative methods, such as sterilization or other nonlethal measures, to alleviate wolf damage. We would like to keep all options available to manage wolf depredations in the future.