February 4, 2023

Why Do the Animal Rights Groups in Idaho Not Trust the Fish and Game Department There?

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Does anyone know? I haven’t been to Idaho since 1972 but from what I follow in the news and visiting the Idaho Fish and Game web site, I think they must be doing a respectable job managing the wildlife in that state.

This question of course is based on the controversy that continues since 1995 when wolves were re-introduced into the area. That is history and now there are wolves and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife is planning to remove the wolf from the endangered list soon in parts of the west and turn control of the animal over to the states.

There are whackos at either end of the spectrum. You have those that would do just about anything to protect the life of one animal and you have those who would kill any animal at the drop of a hat.

Somewhere in the middle there should be some sane discussion that would lead to sensible solutions to problems. But, for some reason, in Idaho it appears that animal rights groups have no faith in the Department of Fish and Game.

The most recent event is the Idaho Fish and Game has requested permission from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife to use helicopters to fly into the Frank Church – River of No Return Wilderness, a 2.4 million acre parcel that is protected by law – even landing a helicopter there would be unlawful unless it was necessary to save human life. Their intent is to put radio collars on about 16 wolves to be able to track the animal and learn more about its behavior.

This request falls in line with part of Idaho’s management plan that was submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife before turning the management over to them. In addition, Idaho is presently undertaking a game count of many of their larger game animals – something that is done about every 3-5 years – and officials felt it would be less intrusive to the wilderness to radio collar the wolf while they were already counting elk, deer, moose and other animals.

Advocates for the wolves say this is not necessary and will sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife if permission is granted. Others feel that the only intention of the Idaho Fish and Game is to find out where the wolves are so that when the wolf is removed from the endangered list, they can all be found and killed.

Proponents of the tracking plan say that to properly manage the animal, they must first get a better understanding of where the creature goes and what it does when it gets there.

The purists who would not want to see the wilderness blemished by the landing of a helicopter, need to be sensible about the reasoning behind it and get over the paranoia that Idaho wants to kill the wolves off.

There are some that do, but I think the track record of Idaho would indicate to most any reasonable human being that they do have the best interest of the wolf in mind.

Throwing animals into a wilderness preserve and not following through with sound management practices is a poor choice and a bad investment of taxpayer dollars. Differing opinions exist as to what good management practices are so do we simply introduce the animal and then let Mother Nature take its course?

We have learned over the years that man and beast must coexist and leaving the animals to fend for themselves is not in the best interest of the animal nor is it for man. The risk of disease to both animal and man is prevalent and with that the entire ecosystems in specific areas can be affected.

So, unless someone can show me a good reason why we shouldn’t trust the Idaho Fish and Game Department’s ability to manage the wolf and other wildlife, I’ll trust in what they are doing. I also believe that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife will not blindly hand over the management and care of the wolf to any state without some sort of checks and balances.

Previous posts on the wolf here, here, and here.

Tom Remington