Hearing in Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee today on wolf disaster declaration

The Senate Resources and Environment Committee will be holding a hearing today at 2:00 pm on H343 in room WW02 of the Capitol building. There will likely be crowd present so be there early if you want to testify.

This bill, which is likely to pass and be signed by the Governor, demonstrates exactly why Idaho cannot be trusted to manage wolves. Even if the IDFG desires to set management goals for wolves above the minimum of 10-15 breeding pairs or 100-150 wolves, the legislature is showing that it can, and will, override them. This legislation seems to even strike at their own 2002 plan which allows wolves to persist in areas where they are not even causing conflict. This would define conflict in such a way that even their presence on a mountain top far away from anyone is a conflict because it might scare some weakhearted berry picker.

Senate Resources and Environment Committee hearing schedule.

You can watch or listen here: Idaho Legislature Live (Idaho Public Television).

Final Draft of Idaho Wolf Legislation

Legislation rescinds the 2002 Wolf Management Plan and calls for $500 per head bounty on wolves.

The draft bill appears to have been written by Runft & Steele Law Offices, PLLC in Boise, Idaho and was distributed to a group of politically connected people.

The bill is radical and shows that anti-wolf forces will seek eradication of wolves in Idaho if national legislation to remove all protections from wolves is or isn’t successful. Obviously eradication of wolves in Idaho is far more important than educational funding which, as you know is being cut. Of course the funding for the bounty program, if the bill is passed unchanged, “will be paid by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game from its General Operating Budget”.

There are several more provisions in the bill which remove all protections for wolves and rescinds all cooperation with federal agencies.

The bill is available for download and pasted below. Read the rest of this entry »

Wildlife Services revises Idaho Wolf Environmental Assessment

Drops gassing of pups in their dens and sterilization but continues heavy handed killing of wolves.

Public Comments accepted until January 3, 2011

Basin Butte Wolf Spring 2006 © Ken Cole

Basin Butte Wolf Spring 2006 © Ken Cole

In anticipation of Monday’s federal court hearing of a case brought by Western Watersheds Project, Wildlife Services has revised its Idaho Wolf Environmental Assessment. While the new EA drops gassing of wolf pups in their dens and use of sterilization, the preferred alternative does not consider exhaustive use of non-lethal methods to prevent wolf conflicts by intimating that it would be too expensive for ranchers to use proper animal husbandry techniques to avoid such conflicts.

Wildlife Services [sic], formerly Animal Damage Control, is an agency under the Department of Agriculture which responds to wildlife threats to agriculture. They are not related to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is under the Department of Interior and who manages endangered species, enforces the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and manages National Wildlife Refuges.

Read the rest of this entry »

Idaho governor says wolf delisting push stalled last Monday on population goal, other details

It shows that Otter never intended to follow IDFG’s management plan.

Otter once again shows us that the state never intended to manage wolves with an eye toward science. He always intended to manage for the minimum number identified in the legislative plan and that the IDFG plan was meaningless just as we have always maintained.

I haven’t seen the proposed legislation anywhere else except here. It was being passed around via email by those who opposed having any protections for wolves and supported bills like the one introduced by Orin Hatch of Utah which removes all wolves, even Mexican wolves, from the ESA. Groups such as the once moderate Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation were opposed to the Baucus/Tester bill because it provided even a modicum of protection.

As Brian Ertz has pointed out on another thread, it’s not that the Endangered Species Act doesn’t provide for a clear path to delist wolves, it is that the states don’t want to provide that regulatory framework to ensure that wolves won’t become endangered again once delisting occurs.

I really can’t imagine that this behavior will help them to resolve this issue if attempts to change the ESA or delist wolves through legislation are unsuccessful. They have certainly lifted the veil. This will all be seen by the judges during the appeal process and it surely demonstrates that they are unwilling to provide any level of protection to wolves once they become delisted. They seem to be playing a high stakes game of chicken and I don’t expect that wolf advocates are going to blink here.

Again though, wolf advocates are being blamed for this impasse and called extremists for insisting that wolves be managed using careful science rather than politics. It seems to me that those who want to bypass science and use only politics are the extremists.

Who is moving the goal posts now?

Idaho governor says wolf delisting push stalled last Monday on population goal, other details
Associated Press.
Read the rest of this entry »

Idaho Fish and Game Commission suspends 2008-2012 Wolf Management Plan

Directs Department to prepare a new plan consistent with 2002 Legislative Plan.

The IDFG Commission voted unanimously to suspend the 2008-2012 wolf management plan, which maintains a wolf population of 518 wolves in the state of Idaho, and directed the Department to prepare “an appropriate wolf species management plan, consistent with the 2002 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan approved by the Idaho Legislature and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.”

In other words, this means that the IDFG has abandoned all pretense of biological or scientific management of wolves in favor of a politically driven plan which only commits to maintain 10 packs minimum but would institute remedial management measures if the population falls below 15 packs.

IDFG Wolf Motion to suspend 2008 plan

Here is the language of the motion which was unanimously passed:

(1) Continue the pursuit of control actions under 10j for the protection of ungulate herds while wolves remain listed under the Endangered Species Act;

(2) Suspend immediately the 2008-2012 Idaho Wolf Population Management Plan; and

(3) Postpone consideration, until delisting resumes, as to the specifics of day-to-day state wolf management and upon delisting of gray wolves in Idaho; the Commission will direct the Department to prepare an appropriate wolf species management plan, consistent with the 2002 Idaho Wolf Conservation and Management Plan approved by the Idaho Legislature and the u.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Youtube video of the meeting and more comment to come. Watch this space. Read the rest of this entry »

Otter backs down on wolf ultimatum

Well, Butch’s deadline came and passed and still no MOA in place.

Otter backs down on wolf ultimatum.
Magic Valley Times News

Governor Otter Denies Idaho County’s Wolf Disaster Declaration

Disaster Declaration asks for protections that are already in place.

It’s funny to see how Governor Otter, an outspoken anti-wolf politician, tries to calm a bunch of other outspoken anti-wolf politicians. It’s obviously an uncomfortable position for him to be in because he has to face reality about the situation which is not what the reactionary politicians in Idaho County want to hear.

Their request raised concerns about human safety and wolves but, considering there have only been two cases of human death attributed to wolves in the last hundred years, even Otter had to remind them they already had the right to defend themselves and others against wolf attacks. They also ask for state and federal help with livestock depredations but they already have Wildlife Services.

The Governor writes:

In your declaration you specifically reference concerns about public safety. Please be aware that you have always been able to kill a wolf in self defense or in the defense of other humans. That has not changed, nor is a disaster declaration necessary for you to protect yourselves and loved ones from wolves.

You also reference the need for state and federal resources under a disaster declaration to address livestock depredations. You should know that livestock owners already are allowed to kill wolves that are attacking (killing, wounding, or biting) or in the act of attacking (actively chasing, molesting, harassing) their livestock, stock animals and dogs. Additionally, livestock owners can get a “shoot-on-sight” permit for chronic depredations. In 2010, there were six confirmed livestock depredations, two probable and one possible depredation reported in Idaho County. All Idaho County livestock depredation claims which occurred before September 10, 2010, should have been submitted to Defenders of Wildlife and those after that date can be submitted for payment under the state compensation plan.

Idaho County Disaster Response