Sunday, March 02, 2014

Idaho Fish and Game kills 23 wolves to protect elk

Idaho wildlife officials have killed 23 wolves in northern Idaho in an effort to boost the number of elk in the region. The Idaho Fish and Game announced Friday afternoon that the animals were killed by USDA Wildlife Service agents using a helicopter in the Lolo elk zone near the Montana border. It's the sixth time the agency has taken action to kill wolves in the Lolo zone in the past four years, bringing the total number of wolves killed there to 48. The efforts are part of the state's predator management plan, which calls for killing wolves when the Fish and Game Department determines they are causing conflicts with people or domestic animals or that they are a significant factor in declining numbers of elk or deer. Idaho lawmakers in the House voted last week to direct $2 million to help kill problem wolves, over objections from Democrats who say it's a poor use of the money. The measure, backed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and livestock producers, is now in the Senate. Idaho has 118 packs and about 680 wolves, according to 2012 figures. This wolf control fund's proponents argue existing measures by federal trappers and hunters aren't enough to tackle wolves that prey on sheep, cattle and elk herds coveted by hunters, so this fund is designed to help pick up the slack...more

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