Because wolves are having a devastating impact on elk herds in the Lolo Elk Management Zone, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) has requested permission of the Service to lethally take wolves over a 5-year period in order to reduce predation on elk. Permission is necessary because these wolves are protected by the Endangered Species Act as a “nonessential experimental population.” When the designation was made, certain actions were allowed including lethal take by livestock producers to remove problem wolves. It was not contemplated at the time that there would be a need to remove wolves to protect wild game species. Therefore the IDFG needs special approval from the Service to also deal with problem wolves.
The Service has released an environmental assessment that asks for public comment on two opposing actions: 1) No Action or 2) Approve Requested Authorization. The rule can be found at http://ww.fws.gov/idaho/ . Comments can be submitted on line at http://www.regulations.gov. In the box that reads “Enter Keyword or ID” enter the number FWS-R1-ES-2011-0009. Check the box that reads “Open for Comment/Submission” and then click the Search button. An icon will appear that reads “Submit a Comment.” Deadline for comments is MARCH 14.
Wolf populations have rebounded since the species was listed and given federal protection. The Service’s efforts to remove, from the Endangered Species list, wolf populations that have recovered has been ensnarled in lawsuits brought by radical environmental groups. In the meantime, wolves are having a huge impact elk populations, and consequently big game hunting. Please take a few minutes to submit a comment to the Service in support of the “Approve Requested Authorization.”