Idaho Lawmakers Pass Bill to Kill Hundreds of Wolves

dead wolf flickr commons

Center For Biological Diversity
For Immediate Release, March 20, 2014

Idaho Lawmakers Pass Bill to Kill Hundreds of Wolves

$400,000 to Be Spent Wiping Out 500 Wolves, Setting Up Wolf-killing Board

BOISE, Idaho— The Idaho Legislature today passed House Bill 470, a bill to create a new lethal “Wolf Depredation Control Board” to administer a fund for widespread killing of wolves in the state. The bill, expected to be signed into law by Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, sets aside $400,000 in state funds to kill roughly 500 wolves, leaving just 150 in the entire state.

The new board will consist of members appointed and overseen by Otter, who said in 2007 that he wanted to be the first to kill an Idaho wolf after federal protections were taken away. The board will be made up of representatives of the agricultural, livestock and hunting communities. The bill does not require any members of the board to represent the wolf conservation community.

“Political leaders in Idaho would love nothing more than to eradicate Idaho’s wolves and return to a century-old mindset where big predators are viewed as evil and expendable,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “The new state wolf board, sadly, reflects that attitude. The legislature couldn’t even bring itself to put a single conservationist on the board, so the outcome is predictable: Many more wolves will die.”

Congress in 2011 stripped Endangered Species Act protection from wolves in Idaho and Montana. Since then, 1,592 wolves have been killed in those states.

The bill is the latest in a series of anti-wolf actions in Idaho that could ultimately backfire and force the return Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. Other commitments made by Idaho, including promises to maintain refugia for wolves in remote areas and wilderness, have been rolled back. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game sent a hunter-trapper into the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness this winter to eliminate two wolf packs. It recently announced a new predator-management plan designed to kill 60 percent of the wolf population in the Middle Fork area over the next several years, and contracted with USDA’s Wildlife Services to gun down 23 wolves in the Lolo management zone in February.

“Yet again, Idaho has put a black eye on decades of tireless work to return wolves to the American landscape,” said Weiss. “This bill sets aside $400,000 in state funds to wipe out as many wolves as legally possible in Idaho. Reducing these wolf populations to below even the absolute bare minimum sets a dangerous precedent and ensures that true wolf recovery will be little more than a pipe dream in Idaho.”

In combination with mortality from annual hunting and trapping seasons, the wolf population in Idaho is under serious threat of dropping near — or even below — minimal recovery levels that Idaho promised to maintain when wolves in the northern Rockies lost federal protections in 2011. The sponsor of H.B. 470, Rep. Marc Gibbs (R-Dist. 32), says the intent of the bill is to reduce Idaho’s wolf population to as few as 10 packs.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is required by its own delisting criteria to review the population if changes in Idaho law or management objectives significantly increase the threat to the population. It must then decide whether to reinstate federal Endangered Species Act protections or extend the post-delisting period for federal oversight.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 675,000 members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolf-03-20-2014.html

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Photo: Dead Wolf Flickr Commons

Posted in Wolf Wars, Idaho Wolves

Tags: wolf extermination, Idaho’s brutal tactics, wolf killing board, $400,000 dedicated to killing wolves in Idaho, Governor Butch Otter, stop the wolf killing,  Idaho House Bill 470, stop the madness

Action Alert: Boise Wolf Supporters, Hearing Today on Wolf Control Board Bill…..

gray wolf tumblr the champion

IMPORTANT ALERT FOR BOISE AREA WOLF SUPPORTERS

 Today, Friday - March 14, 2014

A hearing is scheduled for today on H470, the Wolf Control Board bill. There will be an opportunity for public comment. Please come and show your opposition to the bill!

IDAHO SENATE RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE

Idaho Capitol Building in Boise, Idaho
1:30 P.M. … Room WW55
Friday, March 14, 2014

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Bell: Wolf Fund Won’t Receive $2 Million

BOISE • A bill asking for $2 million to kill up to 500 of Idaho’s wolves won’t get even half of its requested appropriation, said co-chair of the state’s budget committee.

Instead, an unexpected bailout to make up for missing federal e-rate funds to pay for the Idaho Education Network (IEN) broadband program has taken precedence, said state Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chair of the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee.

“We have some flexibility when it comes to killing wolves,” Bell said. “We don’t have flexibility with IEN.”

JFAC has already approved $6.6 million out of this year’s budget to make up for past-due payments to Education Networks of America, the state’s contractor on the broadband project. It’s money the federal government was supposed to pay for the state’s school broadband program but never did.

The supplemental appropriations bill passed both houses and now just needs the signature of the governor.

“Frankly, based on our discussions with legal counsel, we are obligated for this piece,” said state Sen. Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, while debating the bill on the Senate floor. “I need to inform you that this is the first half. The second half we are still arguing and discussing and re-discussing what we do for fiscal year 2015.”

Ever since the news was announced earlier this session, multiple lawmakers expressed their frustration with the state’s Department of Administration for extending the contract with the Education Networks of America through 2019 without informing lawmakers that the broadband vendor was not receiving the federal e-rate payments.

JFAC is expected to discuss the future of IEN next week, which includes a $7.3 million request from Otter and the Department of Administration to cover the federal payments for fiscal year 2015, Bell said.

This means that the wolf bill will also be discussed next week, Bell said, but it won’t get the requested $2 million.

“It will probably get less than $1 million or closer to the $400,000 that was requested last year,” she said.

Bell was referring to a recommendation a committee submitted to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter last summer on how to fund ongoing wolf control efforts. The recommendation asked for $400,000 annually for five years to kill wolves that preyed on livestock.

Instead, Otter ignored the recommendation and requested $2 million of one-time funding to kill wolves during his State of the State speech in January.

READ MORE: http://magicvalley.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/bell-wolf-fund-won-t-receive-million/article_3c9a845e-216c-58fe-935d-a3dbfc9000ca.html

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Photo: gray-wolf-tumblr-the-champion.jpg

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolves

Tags: Idaho wolf wars, wolf persecution, Governor Butch Otter, Wolf Control Board bill, public comment

Good News….Idaho Halts Wolf Extermination In “The Frank”…

Nature Cold Warriors_pack traveling through snow

From Center For Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, January 27, 2014

Contact: Tim Preso, Earthjustice, (406) 586-9699
Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, (971) 717-6403
Ken Cole, Western Watersheds Project, (208) 890-3666
Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife, (208) 424-9385

State-sponsored Wolf Killing Ends in Idaho

Faced With Looming Court Challenge, Idaho Halts Unprecedented Program

POCATELLO, Idaho— Faced with a looming deadline to defend its actions before a federal appeals court, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) announced this afternoon that it is halting its wolf extermination program in the Middle Fork region of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness as of today.

The announcement represents a stay of execution for the remaining wolves that constitute the Golden Creek and Monumental Creek wolf packs, which inhabit the Middle Fork region. To date, nine wolves from the two packs have been killed by IDFG’s hired hunter-trapper, who entered the wilderness and began his wolf extermination program in mid-December. It is unknown how many wolves remain in the two packs.

“IDFG’s hunter-trapper killed nine wolves and we are happy to report that the rest no longer face the same threat,” said Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso. “We are sorry it took an emergency injunction request to the court of appeals to get Idaho to halt this illegal program, and we hope that the federal government in the future will take more seriously its public trust responsibility to protect the wilderness from state efforts to exterminate native wildlife.”

IDFG’s action comes in the midst of an emergency proceeding before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in which conservationists were seeking an injunction to halt the wolf extermination program. The conservationists, represented by Earthjustice, sued IDFG and the U.S. Forest Service earlier this month, arguing that the state wolf extermination program would degrade the largest forested wilderness in the lower-48 states. After a federal judge in Idaho rejected a request to stop the program on Jan. 17, the conservationists took their fight to the court of appeals, where they filed an emergency request for an injunction on Jan. 23.

IDFG is halting trapping in the Middle Fork starting today and the trapper will take a few days to remove traps and snares from the area. Additional trapping in the area will cease, at least through the end of the state fiscal year, which is June 30.

This is bittersweet news,” said Ken Cole with the Western Watersheds Project. “I am happy that IDFG has relented but it is unfortunate that so many wolves have been taken in this senseless plan to manhandle wildlife in an area that Congress recognized as a wilderness ‘where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man.’ “

In mid-December 2013, IDFG hired a hunter-trapper to pack into central Idaho’s 2.4-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to eradicate two wolf packs, the Golden and Monumental packs, in the interest of inflating elk populations for outfitters and recreational hunters. The U.S. Forest Service, which administers the wilderness, approved the extermination program by authorizing use of a Forest Service cabin and airstrip to support wolf extermination activities.

“It’s a tragedy that nine wolves had to die before the state of Idaho finally pulled the plug on its needless effort to eradicate two whole wolf packs from one of America’s largest wilderness areas,” said Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity. “The wolves were only playing the role they play in nature and should never have been killed. It should not take court action to stop such cruel, unnecessary and wasteful killing, but I’m glad it has stopped.”

The region of the Frank Church Wilderness where IDFG’s hunter-trapper was killing wolves is a remote area around Big Creek and the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Even though this region hosts one of the lightest densities of hunters in the state, IDFG prioritized elk production over protection of the area’s wilderness character. The Forest Service failed to object to IDFG’s plans and instead actively assisted them.

Earthjustice represented long-time Idaho conservationist and wilderness advocate Ralph Maughan along with four conservation groups — Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and the Center for Biological Diversity — in the lawsuit challenging the wolf extermination program.

http://www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolf-01-27-2014.html

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Photo: Courtesy Nature (Cold Warriors)

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho Wolves, Activism, Biodiversity

Tags:  Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness, Ralph Maughin, WWP, CBD, Wilderness Watch, DOW, Golden wolf pack, Monumental wolf pack, a victory for the wolves

Idaho Ramps Up War On Wolves

Idaho wolfSeasonStatus

Idaho wolf hunt status map 2012/2013

It’s no big surprise but here we go again.  IDFG just made life even more miserable for wolves unfortunate enough to live in that state.  It seems Idaho’s scorched earth wolf policy is designed to push the remaining, beleaguered animals toward the 100/150 minimum number, essentially relegating canis lupus to the species trash heap in Idaho.

From The Spokesman-Review

Major change for gray wolves:

Extend hunting season on private land in the Panhandle Zone to year-round.

 Extend extend hunting season in the Middle Fork Zone and in that portion of Unit 16 in the
    Dworshak-Elk City Zone north of the Selway River to end June 30.

Extend hunting season in Beaverhead and Island Park zones two months to end March 31.

 Increase harvest limit in the Salmon Zone to 45.

Expand trapping to portions of units 2 and 3.

Expand trapping to private lands in units 13, 18 and 22 from November 15 through March 15.

 Expand trapping season to Island Park and Salmon zones with foothold traps only; except snares may be used on private lands and in that portion of Unit 28 within designated wilderness.

Don’t bother writing to Idaho Fish and Game.  I’m sure they could care less what we have to say about their egregious wolf killing policies. Begging them to stop killing wolves is about as effective as an ejection seat on a helicopter.

All our energies need to be focused on seeing wolves relisted and preventing USFWS from delisting wolves across the lower 48.

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Photo: Idaho Fish and Game

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolves

Tags: Idaho’s war on wolves, new wolf hunting rules, IDFG, wolves persecuted AGAIN

Will You?

This post is dedicated to all wolves who’ve suffered and continue to suffer brutal, senseless deaths in the name of blood sport and agribusiness.

The brutal war against America’s wolves wages on?

Will you be silent?

Will you fight for them?

Will you allow this to continue?

Will you organize in your hometown?

Will you hold a protest?

Will you work to end public land grazing?

Will you write letters to the editor?

Will you write to the Infamous 81 US Senators  who voted to delist wolves in the Northern Rockies via budget rider?

Will you tell those Senators you WILL NOT VOTE FOR THEM on November 6 because of their betrayal? 

Will you boycott all wolf states that hold trophy hunts or kill wolves for agribusiness?

Will you boycott Yellowstone National Park to send Wyoming a message?

Will you spread this message to everyone you know?

Will you be a true Wolf Warrior?

Will you?

Minnesota

Minnesota: Court rejects bid to block wolf hunt

Associated Press
Posted:   10/10/2012 12:01:00 AM CDT
Updated:   10/10/2012 07:26:03 PM CDT
http://www.twincities.com/localnews/ci_21741958/court-rejects-bid-block-minn-wolf-hunt
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Trapped doomed wolf

Wisconsin

Wolf hunt to start Monday

Updated: Thursday, 11 Oct 2012, 5:53 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 11 Oct 2012, 5:53 PM CDT

http://www.fox11online.com/dpp/news/local/green_bay/wolf-hunt-to-start-monday

Hearing on use of dogs in wolf hunt will be Dec. 20

By Paul A. Smith of the Journal Sentinel
Oct. 6, 2012

http://www.jsonline.com/sports/outdoors/hearing-on-use-of-dogs-in-wolf-hunt-will-be-dec-20-2q74b6b-172979611.html

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Wisconsin and Minnesota

Wisconsin, Minnesota ready for first wolf hunts

By STEVE KARNOWSKI and TODD RICHMOND | Associated Press – Wed, Oct 10, 2012

http://news.yahoo.com/wisconsin-minnesota-ready-first-wolf-hunts-175306321.html

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Stand up for wolves! This photo made the Los Angeles Times! (Mato Woksabe)

Michigan

Michigan State Representative Proposes Wolf Hunt

by Outdoor Hub Reporters on August 21, 2012

submitted by: Agnieszka Spieszny

http://www.outdoorhub.com/news/michigan-state-representative-proposes-wolf-hunt/

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Fox Mountain wolf pups 2008 (Mexican Wolf Inter-agency Field Team)

New Mexico

Wanted Mexican gray wolf on the run in NM captured

By RUSSELL CONTRERAS Associated Press
Updated:   10/10/2012 07:14:31 PM MDT
http://www.alamogordonews.com/ci_21747896/gov-martinez-relocate-mexican-gray-wolf-pack

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Gov. Martinez: Relocate Mexican gray wolf pack

By RUSSELL CONTRERAS Associated Press
Posted:   10/11/2012 03:05:16 AM MDT
http://www.alamogordonews.com/ci_21747896/gov-martinez-relocate-mexican-gray-wolf-pack
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This is the hate wolves face

Montana

On the hunt in wolf country: Expanded Montana season begins Monday

7:13 AM, Oct 11, 2012

 http://www.greatfallstribune.com/article/20121011/LIFESTYLE05/310110010/On-hunt-wolf-country-Expanded-Montana-season-begins-Monday

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Wolf trapped waiting to die

Idaho

Idaho’s wolf hunt season now open all year

By Kimberlee Kruesi

The Times-News (Twin Falls, Idaho) staff

Sun, 07/22/2012 – 8:23am

http://www.standard.net/stories/2012/07/22/idaho-s-wolf-hunt-season-now-open-all-year

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Senseless Slaughter

Wyoming

Open Season in Wyoming Threatens Wolf Recovery

08 OCTOBER 2012, 8:56 AM

http://earthjustice.org/blog/2012-october/open-season-in-wyoming-threatens-wolf-recovery

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USFWS

Feds opt not to extend special protection to Mexican gray wolf

Posted Oct 11, 2012, 11:37 pm

Cale OttensCronkite News Service

http://www.tucsonsentinel.com/local/report/101112_mexican_gray_wolf/feds-opt-not-extend-special-protection-mexican-gray-wolf/

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Wedge Pack alpha male being collared, the collar allowed sharpshooters to find and kill his pack .  Then they shot and killed him.

Washington

Killing entire wolf pack is in nobody’s best interests

Published: October 12, 2012

http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2012/10/12/2725979/killing-entire-wolf-pack-is-in.html
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Oregon Weneha wolf killed by poacher

Oregon 

Court Stays Execution of Two Oregon Wolves

SALEM, ORE Oct 06, 2011

http://www.oregonwild.org/about/press-room/press-releases/court-stays-execution-of-two-oregon-wolves/?searchterm=imnaha

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California

Journey In California, The First Wolf  Confirmed In The State Since the 1920′s

And then there’s Journey (OR-7). The One Bright Spot In This Miserable War On America’s Wolves

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oregon Wild Talks Wolves On AM Northwest

Wildlife and Wildlands Advocate Rob Klavins stopped by KATU-TV’s AM Northwest to talk about Journey and Oregon’s wolves.

http://www.oregonwild.org/about/press-room/press-releases/oregon-wild-talks-wolves-on-am-northwest

Calif. agrees to study protections for gray wolf

JASON DEAREN, Associated Press
Updated 5:35 p.m., Wednesday, October 3, 2012

http://www.seattlepi.com/news/article/Calif-agrees-to-study-protections-for-gray-wolf-3917467.php#ixzz29AmZ5vLU

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Photos: Photobucket, USFWS, ODFW, Wolf Wallpaper, Flickr Commons

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho wolves, Montana wolves, Wyoming wolves, Minnesota wolves, Wisconsin Wolves, Michigan wolves, Oregon wolves, Washington wolves, California wolf

Tags: Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Washington, Oregon, New Mexico, Mexican gray wolf, Fox Mountain alpha captured, Fox Mountain pack, Wenaha Pack wolf poached,  wolf trapping torture,  OR-7, retire grazing leases, stop killing wolves, Wedge Pack gone, Wyoming predator zone, boycott wolf killing states, Imnaha Pack

Wild Mexican Gray Wolf Pups (USFWS)

Earth Island Journal: Trappergate Update by James William Gibson

Trapperman.com Josh Bransford with the black wolf he trapped. (Earth Island Journal)

Blog: The EnvironmentaList

Idaho Fish and Game Report Says Trapped Black Wolf Not Shot, “Just Nicked”

BY JAMES WILLIAM GIBSON – APRIL 13, 2012

Trappergate Update: Conservation Activists Encouraged. “Our Moment is Coming,” They Say

Why me, Bill” asked “Elizabeth.”. “Why should anyone care about what I think the Bransford photos accomplished?” I’m just a wee, grubby misfit. I don’t even have one fancy title to my name.” Elizabeth (not her real name) lives in northern Idaho. She grasped that the www.Trapperman.com photos showing smiling hunter Josh Bransford with a trapped black wolf standing in blood-drenched snow in the background would soon disappear. She saved the images and through the North Idaho Wolf Alliance network, got the photographs to Earth Island Journal in late March (Read the original story, Wolf Torture and Execution Continues in the Northern Rockies).

A light has been released, a light beyond my expectations,” Elizabeth says. “We have many new eyes peering into the gap between the ethical treatment of wildlife and legality in the state of Idaho… Josh Bransford is the face of but one man being used to render wolves functionally extinct region-wide, and since his disturbing actions are legal, officials won’t budge unless we the people demand change.”

Despite the worldwide publicity, the Bransford pictures got little attention in the  Idaho news media for the first two weeks after the story’s release. Bill Ross, a wolf handler at the Wolf People sanctuary in Cocolalla, Idaho, observed, “I don’t think the story’s really gotten off the ground yet. It’s not circulated among the general public here.” Ross fears that Bransford and the black wolf are “today’s news” and that “a week from now it won’t be news anymore.” Still, Ross soldiers on. “It can be discouraging, but if we don’t continue to fight, obviously there won’t be a fight,” he explains.

But Ross and the other Northern Rocky advocates got unexpected help on April 12, when the Idaho Fish and Game Service released its official report on Bransford’s “Wolf Trapping in the Red River area.”  (Bransford is a Nez Perce National Forest employee.)

photo of a man in the foreground kneeling, behind him a wolf is chained by a trap, a circle of bloodstained snow beneath
The photo in question. (Earth Island Journal)

While the photograph clearly shows the black wolf standing in a large blood-stained pool of snow, fish and game officials concluded the blood came from “nicks,” not bullets. Moreover, the report says: “the Forest Service officer and the deputy did not observe anyone shoot at the wolf and did not receive any indication that any of the individuals they contacted shot at the wolf.” Thus, since no law enforcement officer saw the wolf shot, and no one confessed to the shooting, then the wolf simply suffered “nicks” to its lower hind legs, and the nicks bled.

The report ignores Bransford’s own blog account about the incident on Trapperman: “I got a call on Sunday morning from a FS [Forrest Service] cop that I know. He said that You got one and you better get up here as there was a crowd forming. Several guys had stopped and taken a shot at him already! Lucky they were not real good shots.”   Bransford, writing under the name “Pinching,” explains that once on the scene he talked to the boys who fired: “I was not mad, and when the boys told me the story I kind of chuckled… I would have done the same I think. They also did go out of there (sic) way to make sure I was called, and they didn’t hide from what they were doing.”

There’s also a serious problem between the report’s conclusion and the pictures of the black wolf. Gary MacFarlane, Ecosystem Defense Director, of northern Idaho’s Friends of the Clearwater, contends that only two possible circumstances could lead to a wolf’s losing so much blood. One, the wolf could be shot. Second, the wolf could have tried to chew off its trapped leg.  But look at the photo of the wolf’s paw caught in Bransford’s trap. “It doesn’t look like the animal is trying to chew off its leg,” he says. “Somebody is lying. There’s a contradiction in the accounts.

Read More:

http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/elist/eListRead/idaho_fish_and_game_report_says_trapped_black_wolf_not_s/

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Photos: Courtesy Earth Island Journal

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho Wolves, Animal Cruelty, Howling for Justice

Tags: Earth Island Journal,  Bill Gibson,  IDFG, trapped and tortured wolf,  Trappergate

Friends of the Clearwater Respond to Forest Service “Investigation” of Wolf Torture Incident….

FRIENDS OF THE CLEARWATER

PO Box 9241 Moscow, ID 83843
pH (208)882-9755
http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org

========================

Rick Brazell

April 4, 2012
Supervisor Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests
104 Airport Road
Grangeville, Idaho 83530

Dear Supervisor Brazell,

As you are undoubtedly aware, there has been considerable public outcry over a recent wolf-trapping incident on the Nez Perce National Forest. Mr. Josh Bransford, the Fire Management Officer (FMO) on the Red River Ranger District of the Nez Perce National Forest, posted a picture on a website of a grey wolf that he had trapped. The wolf was apparently alive, with a pool of blood surrounding it, with Mr. Bransford posing in front of the wolf with a big smile.

Whether one finds this behavior deplorable–which we do, and most Americans most likely do as well–or acceptable may not be a concern of the Forest Service. Nevertheless, according to an article that appeared in the Missoulian on April 4, 2012 Missoula-based group gets threats over post on Idaho wolf trapper, Mr. Phil Sammon from the Forest Service Region One office stated that an investigation into this matter has concluded that no violations occurred. Based on what has been reported in the media, and
what we know about the incident, we have some questions about the agency investigation that we would like to be answered:

First, what prompted the Forest Service to conduct an investigation? When did the Forest Service conduct an investigation, and who conducted it?

Second, how did the Forest Service determine that Mr. Bransford set his traps on his own time, versus government time? Mr. Bransford has admitted to setting his traps on Friday March 16th. Did Mr. Bransford make a statement during your investigation as to when he set the trap(s)?

Third, Mr. Bransford posted the following statement on a web site called trapperman.com. (which can no longer be accessed without having an account), “I got a call on Sunday morning from a FS [Forest Service] cop that I know. You got one up here as there was a crowd forming. Several guys had stopped and taken a shot at him already.” Which Law Enforcement Officer (LEO) responded to the incident, and did that officer type up an incident report?

We understand that the incident occurred on private land. Why was a Forest Service LEO on the scene, and where did this occur? Can you please explain why the LEO gave Mr. Bransford a phone call on March 18th telling him that he had a wolf in his trap? How did the LEO know that the traps belonged to Mr. Bransford?

Fourth, it has been reported that the pool of blood that surrounded the trapped wolf was caused by people that had stopped and fired shots at the wolf. Did the LEO witness and/or make any attempt to stop the individual(s) from shooting at the trapped wolf? Idaho Code 36-1510: Interference with hunting, fishing, trapping or wildlife control clearly states that it is illegal for an individual to tamper with an animal trapped by another individual. If the officer at the scene did not witness the alleged shooting incident, was he or she able to confirm that an individual(s) had fired a gun at the trapped animal? Based on what the law enforcement officer witnessed or learned during questioning, was anyone at the scene cited, and charged for violating this law?

Fifth, Idaho Code 36-1508: Shooting from public highway specifically prohibits individuals from discharging firearms across a public road and/or from its shoulder. Did the law enforcement officer witness  any individual(s) shooting from the road and/or its shoulder? If the officer was not there to witness the alleged shooting, was he or she able to confirm that shots were fired from the roadway? Were any individuals cited and charged for violating this law?

We look forward to your response with regards to this very important matter.

Sincerely,
Gary Macfarlane
Ecosystem Defense Director

cc: Tom Tidwell, Chief US Forest Service via US mail
Jane Cottrell, Deputy Regional Forester, Region One via US mail
Terry Nevius, District Ranger, Red River Ranger District via US mail

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 2:08 pm  Comments (36)  

CBD Calls For Further IDFG Investigation Into Idaho Wolf Trapping Tragedy….

April 4, 2012

Via Facsimile Only
Virgil Moore, Director
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Fax No: (208) 334-2148

Re: IDFG Investigation of Wolf Trapping and Shooting from Road

Dear Director Moore:

I am writing in response to media reports that the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has investigated the events in connection with Josh Bransford’s trapping of a male gray wolf during the weekend of March 16-18, 2012.

According to media accounts, an investigation of this incident has been concluded already, with Mr. Bransford being cleared of any wrongdoing and no investigation of any other individuals involved. Mike Keckler, IDFG’s communications chief, told the Missoulian that Bransford did nothing wrong because he possessed the proper tags, had attended a wolf-trapping class, was trapping on private land with permission from the landowner, and was checking his traps daily.

Yet, by all accounts a crowd gathered on the road and shot at this wolf before (and possibly after) Bransford arrived, wounding it and causing it to suffer and bleed into the snow. Mr. Keckler acknowledged both that this occurred and that shooting from the road is against the law, but stated that IDFG did not investigate further. Mr. Keckler then speculates as to whether those involved violated the law.

Notwithstanding Mr. Keckler’s baseless speculation, those who shot at this suffering wolf violated IDFG rules prohibiting shooting of animals from the road. As their actions violated IDFG rules, they should be investigated for animal cruelty as prohibited by Section 25-3504 of the Idaho Code.

These individuals were not hunting for population control – the purported basis for allowing for sport hunting of wolves in Idaho – or any other legitimate reason. They were being intentionally cruel. They violated IDFG rules. An unnamed Forest Service law enforcement official evidently witnessed this. In light of these facts, your agency’s failure to follow up and investigate these violations is extremely troubling. Indeed, this is one reason why we requested further investigation by the Idaho Attorney General.

Mr. Moore, millions of Americans are deeply concerned about the welfare of gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains. The Center for Biological Diversity considers these animals to be endangered; but for Senator Tester’s appropriations rider last year, Bransford’s actions would be a clear violation of the Endangered Species Act. Treatment of any animal in this manner is patently cruel and inhumane, but this is particularly so when that animal should be federally protected as endangered.

Indeed, when the State of Idaho supported delisting of the gray wolf, assurances were made that IDFG rules would ensure that wolves would be treated humanely as a “game” animal. Yet, when confronted with this incident, your agency has conducted a truncated investigation, effectively sanctioning this gruesome incident. Either IDFG rules and Section 25-3504 of the Idaho Code were violated, or there is a serious problem with IDFG’s ability to ensure that game animals are not treated
with cruelty.

Please direct your agency to investigate this matter further. A lack of leadership and further investigation by IDFG would be not only unjust to this gray wolf, but an affront to the millions of Americans who care very much about their welfare of these animals.

I look forward to your response. Please call me at 503-283-5474 if you have any questions or wish to discuss this matter further. Thank you for your prompt attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,
Amy R. Atwood, Senior Attorney
Center for Biological Diversity

cc: Via Facsimile:
Mike Keckler, Communications Bureau Chief
Idaho Department of Fish and Game
Fax No: (208) 334-2148

Via Online Form:
Lawrence Wasden, Attorney General
State of Idaho

Published in: on April 5, 2012 at 1:50 pm  Comments (20)  

Immediate Release FOC: Group Calls for Investigation of Trapping Incident


Group Calls for Investigation of Trapping Incident

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 3, 2012

Moscow, ID – Yesterday, Friends of the Clearwater urged the Idaho Department of Fish & Game to conduct an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the trapping of a grey wolf in north-central Idaho by Josh Bransford. Last week the group Montana Footloose received a death threat for sharing pictures on their web site of a trapped and tortured grey wolf that was reportedly captured by Mr. Bransford. The picture showed a large pool of blood surrounding the grey wolf, which was apparently caused by people shooting at the wolf while it was still in the trap. The incident has sparked outrage across the country, and once again put the spotlight on a grey wolf hunting and trapping program in the northern Rockies that has killed over five hundred wolves since federal delisting in 2011.

Friends of the Clearwater is concerned that a number of laws could have been broken during the incident, and would like the matter to receive further attention.

“We have wildlife laws in this state that prohibit individuals from interfering with or harassing animals that have been caught in another person’s trap. Idaho Code 36-1510: Interference with hunting, fishing, trapping, or wildlife control clearly states this,” said Brett Haverstick, Education & Outreach Director. “Regardless of what was in the trap, if an investigation finds that laws were broken, we fully expect those individuals deemed responsible to be prosecuted.”

The group is greatly concerned about public safety too, and claims that more than one law could have been broken during the trapping incident.

“We would like the Idaho Fish & Game Department to look into whether or not the individuals were shooting across a public highway or from its shoulder. Idaho Code 36-1508: Shooting from a public highway specifically prohibits such action,” said Gary Macfarlane, Ecosystem Defense Director. “This is about public safety, as much as it is about ensuring that our wildlife laws are being followed.”

Furthermore, according to public records obtained from the web, Mr. Bransford has been found guilty of past wildlife law violations.

“This entire incident needs to be investigated as the circumstances surrounding it are incredibly disturbing,” said Brett Haverstick. “We expect the agency to do the right thing.”

http://www.friendsoftheclearwater.org/

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Photo: Courtesy Jason Hahn 2007
Posted in: Wolf Wars, Idaho Wolves, Animal Cruelty

Tags: Friends of the Clearwater, Forest Service, tortured wolf, public outrage, call for IDFG investigation

Press Release CBD: Trapped Idaho Wolf Tortured Before Killing…

Photo from trapperman.com posting

For Immediate Release, April 3, 2012

Trapped Idaho Wolf Tortured Before Killing 

Attorney General, Forest Service Asked to Investigate Violations of State Cruelty Law and 

Forest Service Ethics

BOISE, Idaho— The Center for Biological Diversity sent letters to both the Forest Service and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, today requesting investigations into the actions of a Forest Service employee, Josh Bransford, who posted photos of a wolf he had trapped in northern Idaho that had been maliciously and non-fatally shot by people who spotted the animal from a nearby road.

“A year ago, that wolf was protected as a member of an endangered species, but last month he was trapped, tortured and killed thanks to an underhanded congressional rider that’s also responsible for the deaths of hundreds of other wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains,” said the Center’s Michael Robinson. “A lack of respect for the balance of nature is leading to a war on wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains .”

The posting, on trapperman.com, shows the Forest Service employee smiling in front of a still-living wolf surrounded by snow that is bloody from the animal’s gunshot wounds. Idaho state law makes it a crime for a person who “causes or procures any animal to be cruelly treated, or who, having the charge or custody of any animal either as owner or otherwise, subjects any animal to cruelty.” It also requires that “destruction of animals for population control” (the supposed reason for wolf trapping) be carried out humanely. Making it possible for potshots to be taken at a captive animal — and photographing the results — before ending the wolf’s suffering appears to violate this law, as well as common decency.

“These photos make plain that the trapping and hunting of wolves being allowed by the state of Idaho are less ‘wildlife-management techniques’ than scapegoating of wolves,” said Robinson. “This egregious torture of a wolf needs to be investigated by Idaho ’s attorney general and the Forest Service, and Josh Bransford should be fined and dismissed from his position.”

Removal of Endangered Species Act protection for the wolf was premised on the fact that state game agencies could be counted on to manage wolves. Idaho has since abandoned the targets of its state plan and instead said it will seek to reduce the population from roughly 1,000 wolves to as low as 150 wolves, effectively creating an open season on the species. So far, 375 wolves have been reported killed in Idaho and 166 in Montana . Idaho ’s wolf hunt remains open in portions of the state.

“The disturbing photos of this animal’s needlessly painful death are a symbol of the loss of hundreds of wolves in Idaho and Montana and the unraveling of their ecosystems as a consequence,” said Robinson. “Last year’s wolf-delisting rider was premised on trusting the states to treat wolves like other wildlife. But that trust was clearly misplaced by Congress.

Without the safety net of the Endangered Species Act, Idaho ’s very clearly persecuting wolves, not ‘managing’ them. It’s brutal and it has to stop.”

Michael J. Robinson
Center for Biological Diversity
www.biologicaldiversity.org

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Howling for Justice Statement

 Yes, it has to stop. Our ultimate goal is to see wolves relisted. It’s obvious the states are not capable of caring for wolves. Idaho is conducting a cruel vendetta against them, worse than the first  Western extermination. We have learned nothing, the same backward, base, hateful attitudes are driving this wolf killing train.

Congress should hang their heads in shame for legislating away wolves’ ESA protections and opening them up to unspeakable torture and brutality!!

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Photo: Courtesy Center for Biological Diversity

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Animal Cruelty, Idaho Wolves

Tags: Animal cruelty, tortured wolf, US Forest Service

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