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Agency to issue permits to kill wolves


Agency to issue permits to kill wolves






Agency to issue permits to kill wolves



Idaho ranchers will get more flexibility in protecting livestock

Associated Press

BOISE _ A new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service policy will allow Idaho
farmers and ranchers to get federal permits to kill wolves even when the
predators are not seen killing livestock.

“We’re just trying to be more flexible and allow private livestock
operators a little more ability to protect their livestock from chronic
wolf attacks,” Carter Niemeyer, the agency’s wolf recovery coordinator,
said Tuesday. “It doesn’t go as far as some folks would like it to go, but
it’s something we could allow.”

Niemeyer said the policy is an extension of one in place for the past two
years in the Yellowstone National Park wolf recovery area.

The Fish and Wildlife Service considers the Idaho and Wyoming wolf
populations — the result of reintroduction efforts in the mid-1990s — as
“experimental, nonessential.”

The permit policy does not, however, apply to the Idaho Panhandle, north
of Interstate 90, and northwestern Montana, where gray wolves are fully
protected as an endangered species.

Meanwhile, the Fish and Wildlife Service said two yearling male wolves
that killed domestic sheep on Sunday were killed Monday. Federal officers
conducted the “control actions” on private land in the East Fork of the
Salmon River near Clayton.

One of the wolves, B-125, was a radio-collared member of the Whitehawk
Pack.

The Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
Wildlife Services also used helicopters to scatter other members of the
pack from the area where wolves reportedly had been frequenting ranches
for two months.

In addition, the Fish and Wildlife Service issued four of the new “lethal
take permits” to local ranchers because of the chronic depredation
pattern.

Niemeyer said the 45-day permits allow private landowners to kill any
single wolf on their property. Previous policy allowed ranchers to kill
wolves only when they were caught attacking or feeding on livestock on
private land.

A second type of permit introduced in the Idaho recovery area this year
allows ranchers to kill wolves attacking their livestock on public lands,
such as Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management grazing allotments.

Those permits also are for 45 days. Niemeyer said in both cases permits
will only be issued for cases involving a chronic, long-term pattern of
wolf attacks.

He said Idaho’s congressional delegation, the Idaho Cattle Association,
Idaho Wool Growers Association and private landowners had pushed for the
change.

Thirty-five wolves were transplanted from Canada to Idaho in 1995 and
1996.

They have since multiplied to about 265.

By the end of 2002, federal wolf managers estimate, 500 wolves will be
roaming the mountains and valleys of Idaho, Yellowstone National Park and
northwestern Montana.

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