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Wolf
Credit: creativecommons.org/Jeremy Weber

The Center for Biological Diversity in the US has joined a coalition of groups in a lawsuit to stop a state-hired bounty hunter from exterminating two entire packs of wolves in Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

The lawsuit alleges that the U.S. Forest Service illegally allowed Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game to send the hired gunman into the wild to kill wolves.

“Hiring a bounty hunter to kill wolves in one of America’s crown-jewel wilderness areas, just to make sure there are more elk for hunters to kill, is one more example of the deeply sad, cruel and reactionary nature of Idaho’s ‘management’ of wolves,” said Noah Greenwald, the Center for Biological Diversity’s endangered species director. “This outrageous slaughter is a clear reminder of why all of our country’s wolves need the protection of the Endangered Species Act.”

The Center claims that the Department of Fish and Game hired the bounty hunter in mid-December to eradicate two wolf packs, the Golden and Monumental packs, in the interest of pumping up elk populations for hunters. The Forest Service, which administers the wilderness, approved the extermination program by authorizing use of a Forest Service cabin and airstrip.

“Killing these wolf packs has nothing to do with science-based wildlife management and everything to do with the anti-wolf attitudes of some hunters and the Department of Fish and Game,” said Greenwald. “Killing of these wolves isn’t just heartless — it’s also a boondoggle.”

The Center is represented by Earthjustice and joins long-time Idaho conservationist and wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan along with three other conservation groups – Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project and Wilderness Watch – in this litigation.

The conservationists allege that the Forest Service’s approval and facilitation of the program violated the agency’s duty to protect the Frank Church Wilderness. They have requested a court injunction to prohibit further implementation of the wolf-extermination program until the case can be resolved.  

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