Idaho holds a privileged place in the annals of wolf history. Here, in The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness nearly 20 years ago, the first reintroduced wolves in America leaped from portable kennels onto their historical home turf, returned by a federal government coming to terms with its misguided policy to hunt, poison and trap an ecologically crucial species to near-extinction. Now, with federal wolf protection lifted in 2011 and wolf management in the hands of the state, many concerned citizens and scientists view Idaho as the poster child for a particularly egregious anti-wolf agenda—one that is absent scientific merit, based in irrational loathing and aimed toward wolf persecution, not management. “While we are disappointed with many states’ wolf plans, Idaho tops the list as the state with the worst wolf policy,” says Don Barry, Defenders’ senior vice president of conservation programs. “The state has rapidly become the most hostile state in the West to wolves and wolf recovery and has adopted a series of extreme anti-wolf measures designed to seriously undermine wolf recovery and sustainability, and to drive the wolf population down to the absolute minimum.”
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