For Immediate Release, May 20, 2021

Contact:

Andrea Zaccardi, (303) 854-7748, azaccardi@biologicaldiversity.org

Wolf-Killing Could Disqualify Montana for $24 Million in Federal Funding, State Warned

Montana Joins Idaho in Passing Extreme Wolf-Killing Legislation

BOZEMAN, Mont.— The Center for Biological Diversity called today for the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks Commission to show restraint in implementing new legislation that could lead to the slaughter of more than 80% of the state’s wolves.

The Center warned that if the commission carries out Senate Bill 314’s recommendations to allow widespread and aggressive killing of wolves, the U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service may disqualify Montana from receiving about $25 million a year in federal funding under the Pittman-Robertson Act.

In 2020 Montana received more than $24.4 million in wildlife-management funding authorized by the Act. From 2015 to 2019 it received more than $99.2 million.

“The Montana legislature’s political interference in the state’s management of wolves is deplorable,” said Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center. “If Montana’s willing to ignore its duty to protect wild wolves for all Americans, it can’t be trusted to appropriately use federal funds for wildlife management.”

Under the Pittman-Robertson Act, a state may receive federal funding to support critical conservation and outdoor-recreation projects but may be deemed ineligible if it passes legislation contrary to the Act. The purpose of the Act is to ensure sound conservation policies for the benefit of a diverse array of wildlife.

Montana’s S.B. 314 could lead to the extermination of more than 680 wolves out of a population estimated at 833. It asks the wildlife and parks commission to implement a law authorizing hunters and trappers to kill an unlimited number of wolves through baiting, trapping, and night hunts using night vision scopes and spotlighting.

In addition, House Bill 224 allows trapping-license holders to trap or snare multiple wolves, while House Bill 225 expands the wolf-trapping season by four weeks. Costs that wolf hunters and trappers incur during this prolonged season may be reimbursed pursuant to Senate Bill 267’s bounty program.

“Montana’s recent anti-wolf legislation is completely contrary to the purposes of the Pittman-Robertson Act, which aims to conserve wildlife,” said Zaccardi. “These bills reflect an anti-wildlife policy that can’t be tolerated. Federal officials should intervene and declare Montana ineligible to receive federal funding unless the state commits to sustaining its treasured wolf population.”

Earlier in May the Center issued a letter asking federal lawmakers to declare Idaho ineligible to receive federal funds following the passage of Idaho Senate Bill 1211, which could lead to the killing of more than 90% of the state’s wolf population. Federal officials have not yet responded.

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Photo courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. 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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