After more than 15 years of dedicated recovery efforts, there are now more than 1,500 wolves in the Northern Rockies. This incredible comeback has restored wolves across, Montana, Idaho and Wyoming, and several packs are now breeding in eastern Washington and Oregon.
But as individual states take over wolf management from the federal government, several of them are once again aggressively targeting wolves in an attempt to reduce the population. Defenders is holding all the states in the region accountable for managing wolves responsibly to ensure the long-term future of a healthy, sustainable wolf population.
Less than a year after the species was delisted in May 2011, Idaho and Montana have already resumed killing hundreds of wolves in their states. Wyoming is likely to follow suit very soon. Meanwhile, the first wolf packs in eastern Oregon and Washington are still struggling for survival.
How We’re Helping
In early 2012, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission was considering a proposal to extend the wolf hunting season in the Bitterroot Valley in order to boost elk herds. Defenders, our allies, and our supporters weighed in to convince the commissioners not to support the unjustified extension, and they unanimously rejected the proposal.
In late 2011, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission approved using federal agents with USDA Wildlife Services to kill wolves in the Lolo zone of Clearwater National Forest in order to boost elk herds. Defenders strongly opposed the plan, as did more than 90,000 of our supporters that submitted comments against it. But Idaho pursued the plan anyway, removing 14 wolves in early 2012 using taxpayer-funded federal resources.
Even after killing hundreds of wolves during its hunting season, Idaho state Sen. Jeff Siddoway wanted to give ranchers even more flexibility to target wolves caught harassing livestock. He introduced a bill that would have allowed the use of night-vision scopes, motorized vehicles, powered parachutes, and even live bait in order to kill wolves. Fortunately, the bill died in committee thanks to widespread outcry over the unwarranted actions.
Where We Are Today
Aggressive wolf-killing proposals and other unsustainable and unscientific practices continue to emerge from states across the region. Defenders will continue to mobilize its supporters in opposition to make sure the success of wolf recovery is not reversed.