For Immediate Release, July 19, 2021

Contact:

Liz Trotter, Earthjustice, (305) 332-5395, etrotter@earthjustice.org
Andrea Zaccardi, Center for Biological Diversity, (303) 854-7748, azaccardi@biologicaldiversity.org
Patrick Kelly, Western Watersheds Project, (208) 576-4314, patrick@westernwatersheds.org
Gary Macfarlane, Friends of the Clearwater, (208) 882-9755, gary@friendsoftheclearwater.org
Bonnie Rice, Sierra Club, (406) 640-2857, bonnie.rice@sierraclub.org

Lawsuit Launched Over Idaho’s Harmful Wolf-Hunting Laws

New Laws Pose Substantial Risks to Federally Protected Lynxes, Grizzly Bears

BOISE, Idaho— Ten groups filed a notice of intent today to sue the state of Idaho to challenge the state’s new wolf-hunting laws, which also pose a serious risk to federally protected species like lynxes and grizzly bears.

The laws, which call for the killing of up to 90% of the current gray wolf population, allow for year-round hunting, trapping and snaring, with hunters and trappers allowed to kill an unlimited number of wolves on a single tag. The state’s authorization of an unlimited season and expanded methods of killing wolves is likely to result in incidental trapping and snaring of federally protected lynxes and grizzly bears, violating the Endangered Species Act.

Earthjustice sent the notice on behalf of the Center for Biological Diversity, Footloose Montana, Friends of the Clearwater, International Wildlife Coexistence Network, Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment, Sierra Club, Trap Free Montana Public Lands, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch and Wolves of the Rockies.

“The Idaho Legislature’s latest assault on wolves introduces a new killing paradigm not seen since the 19th century,” said Ben Scrimshaw, an Earthjustice attorney. “We know that traps and snares frequently capture, injure and kill non-target animals. Flooding known lynxes and grizzly habitat with yet more trapping activity will result in significant collateral damage to these federally protected species.”

“I and many Nez Perce Tribal members are against the State of Idaho’s wolf slaughter plan,” said Julian Matthews of Nimiipuu Protecting the Environment. “We and many other tribal members feel that wolves are an important and critical piece in the ecosystem and attempts to appease ranchers and other groups in Idaho are abhorrent to us.”

“Idaho’s expansion of strangulation snares and other traps is an outrageous attack on wolves, but many other imperiled animals will also die,” said Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These unjustifiable laws threaten to kill various species of native wildlife, including federally protected grizzly bears and Canada lynxes.”

“In reality there is no such thing as wolf trapping. Traps and snares are indiscriminate. With the liberalized trapping of wolves, there will be far more than wolves trapped, injured and killed,” said KC York of Trap Free Montana.

“Idaho is one of the key states where imperiled wildlife is afforded refuge from the pressures of our modern world,” said Suzanne Asha Stone, Idahoan and director of the International Wildlife Coexistence Network. “Allowing reckless killing of these species in their habitat on our national forests goes against everything that most Idahoans and the American people value on our public lands.”

“Idaho’s outdated plans for wolf killing will inevitably harm other native wildlife species. It’s unacceptable to allow imperiled species to be ‘collateral damage’ in Idaho’s war on wolves,” said Patrick Kelly, Idaho director of Western Watersheds Project.

“Grizzlies are returning to their former home in places like the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and North Fork Clearwater,” said Gary Macfarlane of Friends of the Clearwater. “Idaho’s abhorrent war on wolves could kill grizzlies too and prevent their recovery in some of the best habitat anywhere.”

“Idaho’s war on wolves is also a war on wilderness,” said George Nickas, executive director of Wilderness Watch. “The Forest Service has an obligation to the American public to step up and defend these special places and the wildlife that lives there.”

“Idaho continues to lead the nation in the mismanagement of the public’s wildlife. Incidental killing and flagrant disregard of wolves, lynx and grizzly bear wellbeing are reprehensible,” said Marc Cooke of Wolves of the Rockies.

“Idaho’s unwarranted, extreme new laws aimed at annihilating the wolf population will not only injure and kill countless wolves, but also threatened species including lynx and grizzly bears,” said Bonnie Rice, senior campaign representative for the Sierra Club. “Idaho is key to full recovery of grizzlies including in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. The state’s war on wolves also threatens the return of grizzlies and the overall biodiversity of the region in the midst of an extinction crisis.”

“The time has come to end our governor’s war on wildlife. This lawsuit is designed to stop the madness that comes from his cruel and blatant assault and efforts to privatize all wildlife,” said Stephen Capra of Footloose Montana. “We will stop him.”

Idaho has 60 days to respond to the notice. In June Earthjustice filed a notice of intent to sue in the state of Montana in response to its new wolf hunting laws.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.