HOWL Colorado

More details about USDA Wildlife Services wolf killing plans

[large thumbnail url=”more-details-about-usda-wildlife-services-wolf-killing-plans” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”08″ day=”27″] [thumbnail icon url=”more-details-about-usda-wildlife-services-wolf-killing-plans” filename=”news” year=”2010″ month=”08″ day=”27″] In a document published on the USDA Web site, Wildlife Services outlines many alternatives regarding the management of wolves in Idaho.

The linked document provides a detailed overview of the alternatives Wildlife Services has presented for managing the wolf population in Idaho.

There is, as you might expect, some contradiction between the various governmental departments in terms of the goals which should be established for the wolf populations of the state.

The Governor wants to avoid the Federal government taking over the management of the wolves – which requires the number of breeding pairs being kept steady at 10. This equates only to about 100 wolves in the entire state. A number which many researchers now believe is not sustainable or providing enough diversity to maintain a healthy, long-lasting population.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game currently has stated it’s goal is 500 wolves in the state. However, it is hard to determine if this is the final “answer” when asking the question. This equates to about a 40% reduction and several hundred wolves. An animal just recently returned the protections of the Endangered Species Act. 

The document outlines several alternatives. The one which has raised the most eyebrows and created the more ire is listed under 4.4.2 as the preferred and proposed management plan.

Under this Alternative, WS would continue to implement an adaptive IWDM program, but could additionally provide assistance to IDFG to protect ungulates in those situations where IDFG has determined that wolves are impacting the ungulate population in a specific management area. IDFG would continue to conduct monitoring in management zones across the state as part of their ongoing efforts to determine wolf populations and to meet ungulate population management objectives. In some management zones (e.g., currently the Lolo and Selway Zones) there have been indications that wolf predation is one of the primary reasons for declining numbers of elk, and wolf control is part of an IDFG- approved Mammal Predation Management Plan for these zones (IDFG 2010b) . Under this alternative, WS could perform wolf control activities in response to IDFG requests to implement Predation Management Plans.

In addition WS activities could potentially include 2 additional methods not employed under the current program. One of these methods could be the potential use of surgical sterilization of alpha pairs of wolves in those situations where there has been a chronic history of depredation on livestock, and where the entire pack has been slated for removal. This approach might potentially be employed to protect either livestock or ungulates, depending on the circumstances. The other method which might infrequently be used under this Alternative would be the gas cartridge to humanely euthanize wolf pups in dens, in those cases where IDFG had authorized removal of an entire pack.

Wildlife Services is the division which was responsible for exterminating all wolves in the Rocky Mountain region. They are very good at what they do.

While 4.2.2. is the preferred and proposed management option, there are others. 4.4.3 is non-lethal management only. It is not considered highly viable in the report.

To read through the long document yourself: 

Gray Wolf Damage Management in Idaho
Protection of Livestock and other Domestic Animals, Wild Ungulates, and Human Safety

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