Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Greens Fight Feds for Idaho's Wolves

More than 600 wolves have been strangled, shot from the air and trapped illegally in Idaho, five environmental groups say in a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Western Watersheds Project and others say USDA Wildlife Services has been killing the wolves without legally required determination that the slaughter is justified to protect livestock and increase elk populations. "The agency killed at least 72 wolves in Idaho last year, using methods including foothold traps, wire snares that strangle wolves, and aerial gunning from helicopters," the groups say in the June 1 federal lawsuit. "The agency has used aerial gunning in central Idaho's 'Lolo Zone' for several years in a row — using planes or helicopters to run wolves to exhaustion before shooting them from the air, often leaving them wounded to die slow, painful deaths." Elk hunting in Idaho is managed in 28 elk zones. The Lolo Zone, in north central Idaho, begins at the Idaho-Montana Border and includes part of the Selway-Bitteroot Wilderness, north across the North Fork Clearwater drainage. Twenty-one gray wolves in the Lolo Zone were shot from the air on Feb. 10 this year, bringing the toll 657 wolves killed by Wildlife Services in Idaho since 2006, the groups say. They expect other zones to be added to the slaughter. The program to hunt, trap and kill wolves is the product of a March 2011 Environmental Assessment (EA) and Decision/Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The 2011 EA "claims to evaluate the environmental impact of killing wolves that may have predated upon domestic livestock, as well as expanded wolf-killing meant to boost elk herds," according to the complaint...more

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