Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, November 28, 2023

Contact:

Andrea Zaccardi, Center for Biological Diversity, (303) 854-7748, azaccardi@biologicaldiversity.org
Suzanne Stone, International Wildlife Coexistence Network, (208) 861-5177, suzanne@wildlifecoexistence.org
Talasi Brooks, Western Watersheds, (208) 336-9077, tbrooks@westernwatersheds.org

Legal Petition Seeks Ban on Shooting Wolves From Helicopters in Idaho’s National Forests

Aerial Gunning Also Endangers Grizzlies, Public Safety

BOISE, Idaho— Wildlife conservation groups today petitioned the U.S. Forest Service to prohibit aerially gunning of wildlife in national forests in Idaho. The petition follows the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board’s controversial approval of proposals from private contractors to shoot wolves from aircraft across millions of acres in central and southeastern Idaho.

“Killing wolves from helicopters is barbaric and scientifically unjustifiable, and we can’t let it happen in our national forests,” said Andrea Zaccardi, carnivore conservation legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Our nation’s public lands should not be killing fields. The Forest Service needs to ban this practice to protect public safety, recreation, and imperiled animals.”

Three of five proposals approved by the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board were presented by Trevor Walch, who operates the Predator Control Corp. According to public records, Mr. Walch violated numerous state wildlife protection laws in Nevada, including leaving animals suffering in unattended traps for up to 13 days.

“Some of the ranchers he claimed to represent work with us on the Wood River Wolf Project in the Sawtooth National Forest. We’ve never had significant livestock losses in the area since the project began implementing proactive livestock protection methods sixteen years ago. The ranchers immediately denied making any agreement with Mr. Walch or the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board,” said Suzanne Asha Stone, co-founder of the Wood River Wolf Project. “If the Department of Agriculture goes forward with their grants, they may well cause more predation problems where few to none currently exist.”

Although the board claims killing wolves is necessary to protect livestock and elk and deer, many of the areas where the board authorized wolf killing have not experienced recent wolf predations on livestock and have elk and deer populations that exceed objectives.

“The board authorized wolf killing even in areas without any recent conflicts with livestock or elk and deer populations, which shows just how bogus this whole effort is,” said Talasi Brooks of Western Watersheds Project. “This is essentially illegal sport hunting from aircraft and there is no reason for the government to allow the state’s anti-science bloodlust for wolves to be slaked on federally-managed lands.”

Today’s legal petition asks the Forest Service to immediately ban shooting of wildlife from aircraft. Should the Forest Service fail to promptly grant the petition, the groups may consider legal action in federal court.

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Gray wolf (Canis lupus). Photo courtesy of Gary Kramer, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Image is available for media use.

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.

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