Idaho Passes Bill To Kill 90% Of The State’s Wolves
Idaho lawmakers have passed a bill that will authorise killing 90% of the state’s wolves.
Given the Republican grip on the state legislature, it’s not surprising to see the legislation pass in the House with an overwhelming majority of 58-11. It’ll now be passed over to GOP Governor Brad Little, who hasn’t indicated his support for the bill as his office doesn’t comment on proposals prior to his signature.
The bill would allow hunters to use night-vision goggles, as well as snowmobiles and other vehicles, in order to bring the gray wolf population down from around 1,500 to 150.
As per AP, House Majority Leader Mike Moyle, who’s also one of the bill’s sponsors, said, ‘We have areas of the state where the wolves are having a real detrimental impact on our wildlife. They are hurting the herds, elk and deer. This allows the Wolf Depredation Control Board and others to control them, also, which we have not done in the past.’
In October last year, gray wolves were removed from the list of endangered species in the US, prompting states to revisit legislation regarding hunting restrictions. The US Fish and Wildlife Service described them as ‘an integral component of the ecosystems to which it typically belongs’.
However, cattle and sheep ranchers allege they’ve lost hundreds of thousands of dollars due to wolves either killing or harassing their animals.
Environmental groups have widely opposed the legislation, asking Little to veto it. Alongside several other groups and organisations, the Western Watersheds Project said in a statement, ‘The bill will waste millions of dollars of public funds on killing wolves, and threatens to ultimately return the species to the endangered species list and federal management.’
A significant point of the proposals to note is the provision of private contractors, with the Idaho Department of Fish and Game set to give the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control board $300,000, up from $110,000. Over the past two years, around 500 wolves have been killed by state and federal authorities.
Garrick Dutcher, research and program director for Living With Wolves, explained to The Guardian, ‘Should the legislature set this precedent, they could wrestle away authority from the fish and game commission for other species as well.’
He added, ‘Every year, we lose far more [cattle] to coyotes, to bad weather, to birth complications, and disease – orders of magnitude more.’
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