Earlier this year, Idaho passed a bill that took effect at the beginning of this month, allowing the state to kill upward of 90% of the current wolf population.
Republican lawmakers have said that the current wolf population is out of control and that farmers continue to lose livestock. Additionally, some lawmakers have said that the new law was necessary because deer and elk populations have also decreased because of the high number of wolves.
Not everyone agrees with the new law. Some are even calling on President Joe Biden (D) and members of his cabinet to stop it, including actor Leonardo DiCaprio.
DiCaprio made the call for the president and the Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, to help get gray wolves added to the endangered species list. Here is what he posted on Twitter:
Additionally, a group called “Wolf Conservation Center” urged people to take action as well. Here is what they posted on Twitter:
EMERGENCY- While many Americans were busy enjoying the holiday weekend, trophy hunters + even bounty hunters were celebrating the the start of a cruel + terrifying existence for wolves in Idaho.
The group then called on citizens to also contact Haaland and Biden to add gray wolves to the Endangered Species Act, which they had previously been listed.
Idaho Dispatch reached out to several lawmakers who voted for and against the new wolf law to get their thoughts on why they voted for or against it.
Rep. Judy Boyle (R-Midvale) was the first to respond to Idaho Dispatch. Here is what she had to say,
Idaho has been faithfully following our Idaho Wolf Management Plan as agreed upon by US Fish & Wildlife since 2002. That plan requires 100 wolves & 10 packs as a minimum number before any relisting can occur. We also agreed to 150 wolves & 15 packs as a minimum with managing wolves while protecting private property. Idaho is far in excess of both those levels. There is no biological reason to relist wolves unless we fall below the 100/10 numbers.
The environmental groups appear to be using a false narrative as a fundraising tool to stir up the emotions in those not educated in the facts.
Sen. Jim Woodward (R-Sagle) also spoke in favor of the new law stating the populations are too high, and the elk populations have become too low.
Here is what Woodward had to say in an email to Idaho Dispatch,
The changes made this year in SB1211 were an attempt at striking a balance. The bill allows the wolf population to go as low as the level previously recognized as sustainable, but does not require a reduction in the population. The bill does allow for greater wolf harvest as we see an ever increasing population which threatens other wild species and livestock. The increasing wolf population has significantly reduced ungulate numbers throughout Idaho. In the northern counties I live in, the reduced number of elk is easily observable. For those of us living and working in wolf habitat, there must be a balance between maintaining the species and maintaining our existence.
Idaho Dispatch did not hear back from several lawmakers who had opposed the bill. We reached out to Rep. Colin Nash (D-Boise), Sen. David Nelson (D-Moscow), Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise), and Sen. Michelle Stennett (D-Ketchum).
What do you think of Idaho’s new “wolf law?” Do you support it or oppose it?
Let us know in the comments below.
Tags: Gray Wolf, Jim Woodward, Judy Boyle, Leonardo DiCaptrio, Wolf, Wolf Conservation Center