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Op-Ed: Idaho's wolf-killing board spending $4,600 per wolf

By Karen Graham     Feb 5, 2015 in Environment
Boise - Idaho's new Wolf Depredation Control Board reported to the state's lawmakers today that they have killed 31 wolves, all suspected of being livestock killers, since the board was formed July 1, 2014.
But that wasn't all they wanted to report. No, not by a long shot. They also were asking for more money so they can "maintain" an operating budget, even though they anticipate a $130,000 surplus at the end of June, 2015. They have got to be kidding, of course, right?
Board member Carl Rey told lawmakers the Wolf Depredation Control Board had spent about a third of their $400,000 budget over the past six months in killing 31 wolves, all attacking livestock. That comes to a grand total of $4,600 per wolf. They must have been using pure platinum hollow points.
The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee begged off on making a decision right then, but said it would provide a recommendation in the coming weeks after hearing from other state agencies and departments. Idaho Governor Butch Otter signed the bill forming the Wolf Depredation Control Board March 27, 2014. The board was placed within the governor's office with a fund of $400,000, taken from general tax funds as well as funds from hunting and fishing licences.
Critics of the formation of the Wolf Depredation Control Board and Idaho's annual wolf-killing derby have consistently been ignored by state officials and wolf-killing derby officials. The first derby was held in December, 2013, despite outrage from people all over the globe, as reported in Digital Journal in Sept. 2014.
But here is the real interesting thing about this state-sanctioned wolf killing fiasco - Idaho's wolf population has been steadily decreasing since 2009, when they were first taken off the Endangered Species Act. It was only through the hard campaigning and lawsuits by wildlife groups that the wolves were put back on the list by order of a federal judge in 2010.
Then, in 2011, Congress surprised everyone by taking the wolves off the list again. Strange? Yes, it is. What is even worse is the fact that in 2014, the wolf population in Idaho has dropped from a high of 850 to about 480 wolves. Under the Endangered Species Act, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is supposed to monitor the wolf population for a period of five years. Now, the federal agency is out of the picture and says it won't step in until the population drops to 150 wolves.
It all comes down to Carl Rey saying they need full funding because they expect to kill a lot more wolves this spring and summer when "wolves are more likely to go after cattle and sheep." Rey also mentioned that 2014 had an abnormally low number of livestock attacks, but he considered that an anomaly. He added, "We think we're going to need every dime of that money before this is over." Let's see now, at $400,000, they can slaughter about 87 more wolves at $4,600 a shot.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Idaho, Wolf Depredation Control Board, decrease in population, Endangered species act, violates commitments
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