FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 13, 2016
Citizens demand taxpayer money be returned
Call for abolishing costly Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board
Coeur d’Alene- A citizen protest will occur at 6:00pm on Monday May 16 outside the Idaho Department of Fish & Game office in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which is located at 2885 W. Kathleen. The agency is hosting a public meeting, and taking comments on a number of issues, including direction on how money should be spent by the controversial Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board to manage and control wolves. The Idaho legislature created the control board in 2014 to address “conflicts with Idaho’s livestock and wildlife populations.” The legislature recently allocated another $400,000 from the state general fund to kill more wolves.
In 2015, the Board contracted with trappers and aerial gunners to kill seventy-two wolves. Approximately, $6,000 was spent on each wolf kill. In addition to the seventy-two killed by contractors, hunters and trappers killed hundreds of wolves with permits during the year.
“Many citizens continue to be outraged over the egregiously, unconscionable wolf killing activities being executed by the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board, in conjunction with the federal USDA Wildlife Services. They spent roughly $6,000 dollars per dead wolf in 2015,” said long-time Idaho resident Merlyn Nelson. “Why not spend that money on hunting down poachers, who kill way more elk then wolves.”
The control board is appointed by Idaho Governor Butch Otter, and comprised of representatives of the Idaho Department of Fish & Game, agriculture department, livestock industry, and hunters/trappers. The legislature has awarded the control board a total of $1.2-million the past three years to kill wolves.
“Shame on the Idaho Legislature for allocating over 1-million dollars to the control board so they can eradicate a native species like the wolf,” said Bonnie Brown of Coeur d’Alene. “The Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board needs to be abolished. All the money should be refunded to the state general fund, and it should instead be spent on the needs of Idahoans, like health care, education or highway infrastructure.”
The control board has contracted with aerial gunners from Wildlife Services to kill dozens of wolves on the Clearwater National Forest in recent years. Money has been spent on these and other actions supposedly “for the protection of ungulates.”
“The Idaho Fish & Game Department and USDA Wildlife Services are spending state taxpayer dollars to kill wolves and create an elk farm so that out-of-state hunters can kill a trophy elk and mount it on their wall,” said Brett Haverstick, Education & outreach Director of Friends of the Clearwater. “The Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board is a tragic case of the public blindly being forced to subsidize outfitters and the hunting lobby.”
The citizen protest on Monday night expects to draw a crowd of wildlife advocates, taxpayers for fiscal responsibility and individuals fed up with the state not fully funding education, health care and other basic life needs.
“We are encouraging people from Coeur d’Alene and throughout the region to attend the protest and provide comments to the Idaho Department of Fish & Game Commissioners,” said Adrienne Cronebaugh, Executive director of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance. “The Department should direct the wolf depredation control board to return the money to the Idaho Legislature so that it can be spent on more pressing matters.”