Groups sue over wolf kill

BOISE, Idaho – Conservation groups are suing federal and state officials over Idaho’s plan to track and kill wolves from two packs in central Idaho.

The lawsuit, filed by Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project and Wilderness Watch in Pocatello’s U.S. District Court on Monday, asks the judge to stop the plan immediately to give the case time to work through the courts. The environmental groups are joined by Ralph Maughan, a former Idaho State University professor, conservationist and longtime wolf recovery advocate from Pocatello.

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Idaho wildlife officials hired a hunter late last year to begin killing the two packs in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game hopes it will aid the recovery of elk populations in the region. At the time, the department’s wildlife bureau chief Jeff Gould said that using a professional hunter and trapper will help the department determine if it’s a cost-effective method for managing wolves.

The conservation groups contend the large-scale removal of wolves contravenes the federal 1964 Wilderness Act because it threatens to change the character of the large wilderness area. The groups say the U.S. Forest Service’s decision to allow the state-hired hunter to use the Forest Service’s backcountry airstrips and cabin demonstrates that the federal agency has approved of the state plan, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

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Source: The Missoulian

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