Idaho and Montana have submitted proposals to the US Fish and Wildlife Service for approval to kill up to 186 wolves in Montana and up to 80% of the estimated 76 wolves in Idaho’s Lolo hunting zones.
Here is the IDFG proposal:
IDFG proposes an adaptive strategy to reduce the wolf population in the Lolo Zone. Wolves will be removed to manage for a minimum of 20 to 30 wolves in 3 to 5 packs. The level of removal will be dependent on pre-treatment wolf abundance. Using the minimum estimated number of 76 wolves in the Lolo Zone at the end of 2009 (Mack et al. 2010), a minimum of 40 to 50 wolves would be lethally removed during the first year. Removal during subsequent years would be lower, but variable, depending on wolf abundance. However, IDFG will maintain a minimum of 20 to 30 wolves annually in the Lolo Zone for a period of 5 years.
We’ve covered the Lolo wolf issue in detail over the last several years.
In Montana it is being described as a “conservation hunt to relieve population pressures and associated biological, social, and political pressures that currently jeopardize support of wolf recovery in Montana”. Since when does the Endangered Species Act allow for hunts to relieve “political pressures”? It doesn’t, in fact the ESA requires that decisions be based on the best available science not “political pressures”.
Frankly, I can’t see how the USFWS will see this as anything but a sport hunt aimed at reducing a population of wolves listed as an endangered species.
FWP Seeks Conservation Wolf Hunt Permit By November.
Montana FWP Press Release
Lolo 10(j) Wolf Reduction Proposal.
IDFG’s actual proposal.
Montana, Idaho send wolf hunting plans to feds.
The Associated Press