Control plans for wolf, grizzly studied

Capital Press

BOISE, IDAHO - March 8, 2002 - Federal funds must pay for state management and conservation of grizzly bears and wolves in Idaho, say proposed state management plans for the two species.

The plans went to the House and Senate floors here March 1 and 4.

Both plans received do-pass recommendations following lengthy committee hearings, subcommittee meetings, and private discussions between state lawmakers and conservationists seeking to protect wolves. The resulting compromises are in Senate Concurrent Resolution 134 for wolves, and House Concurrent Resolution 49 for grizzlies.

SCR 134 says that if the Idaho congressional delegation is unsuccessful in obtaining federal funds for wolf management, Idaho is under no obligation to manage wolves but will not be precluded from using state resources to eliminate or control wolf-related conflicts.

It passed the Senate Resources and Environment Committee March 4. It notes that Idaho is on record asking the federal government to remove wolves from the state by adoption in 2001 of House Joint Memorial No. 5.


While that is still Idaho’s official position, “in order to use every available option to mitigate the severe impacts on the residents of the state of Idaho, the state will seek delisting and manage wolves at recovery levels that will ensure viable, self-sustaining populations,” the resolution says.

HCR 49 was approved and sent to the floor by the House Resources and Conservation Committee on March 1.

The two concurrent resolutions say Idaho will manage grizzlies and wolves to meet requirements for their removal from the federal endangered species list.

SCR 134 pledges that Idaho will allow wolves to expand their current range if it can be shown that can happen without causing unacceptable conflict. Idaho Department of Fish and Game is to protect wolves but also “consider their impact on other big game species, those sectors of the economy dependent upon sport hunting, livestock, domestic animals, and humans.”


“The wolf population will be managed at recovery levels that will ensure viable, self-sustaining populations until it can be established that wolves in increasing numbers will not adversely affect big game populations, the economic viability of IDFG, outfitters and guides, and others who depend on a viable population of big game animals,” the resolution says.

Following delisting, Defenders of Wildlife should continue paying compensation for domestic animals killed by wolves, says SCR 134.

Further language acknowledges charges by some that wolves are adversely affecting Idaho’s elk and deer populations. SCR 134 calls on the state fish and game commission and the Governor’s Office of Species Conservation to begin immediate discussions with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to define unacceptable levels of wolf effects on hoofed animal populations.

“Specifically, they will define how these effects would be measured, and will identify possible solutions,” the resolution says.

Both resolutions require the IDFG to prepare and submit annual reports on the implementation and progress of recovery programs.

The report on bears is to “document Yellowstone grizzly bear effects upon wildlife, depredation on domestic livestock, conflicts with humans, and any grizzly bear related human fatalities.”


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