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Idaho issues wolf-hunting licenses in wake of growing population

By Wang Fangqing     Aug 27, 2009 in Environment
In the coming fall and winter, licensed hunters are allowed to walk into any licensed vendor in Idaho to buy a tag which allows them to kill a gray wolf roaming around in the area.
The plan, proved by the Boise-based Idaho Fish and Game Commission on August 17, allows the public to kill up to 220 grey wolves from Sept. 1 to Dec. 31.
Its neighbor Montana also launched a similar wolf hunt campaign, effective from Sept. 15 to Nov. 29 with a quota of 75. Both hunts came months after the wolves were removed from US endangered list in February, reports National Geographic.
Hunters and ranchers are certainly embracing the plan as the growing population of grey wolves, the top predator whose population now tops 1,500 in the Northern Rockies region, have eaten too many deer and elk and have been a serious threat to their livestock.
However, environmental groups, including the Defenders of Wildlife and the Center for Biological Diversity, gave it a thumbs-down; they filed a motion Aug. 20 in a federal district court to block the wolf hunts.
Their lawyer, Jenny Harbine from environmental law firm Earthjustice, argued the hunt will affect the breeding and the population, as well as the regional ecosystem.
"The Greater Yellowstone population in particular is too small to persist in the long-term without wolves coming in from other populations and breeding," she said.
A hearing on the motion will be on Aug. 31.
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