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Hello please consider printing the following LTE. Thank you.
The Idaho Department Fish & Game, in conjunction with Wildlife Services, despicably gunned down twenty wolves over the Clearwater National Forest in north-central Idaho last month. Helicopter gunning of wolves, or any other species, should not be a “tool in the toolbox” in 21st Century wildlife management. It’s barbaric, immoral, and expensive and is not grounded in science.
The “Lolo Zone” of the Clearwater National Forest provides the best habitat for large carnivores in the Lower 48. The rugged slopes and vast roadless terrain of the North Fork Clearwater and the upper Lochsa River drainage provides crucial habitat for wolves, lynx, wolverines, fisher and grizzly bears.
Stand-replacing wildfires and the eradication of predators in the 20th Century created good habitat for elk in the “Lolo Zone.” Elk numbers reached 16,000 in the 1980’s. Those numbers have declined for two main reasons: harsh winters in the 1990s killed thousands of elk, and a lack of stand-replacing fires over the past century has led to forest succession and a change in forest type or habitat. Other impacts include off-road vehicles, spread of noxious weeds and hunters killing too many elk.
Shame on the Idaho Legislature Joint Finance Appropriations Committee for approving another $400,000 for Governor Otter’s Wolf Control Board. This adds to the hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars still remaining from last year’s appropriation. Idaho won’t properly fund education, health care and highways but will blow money on eradicating a native carnivore.
It’s time to abolish the wolf control board.