When the Canadian gray wolves were introduced to Idaho in the ’90s, Idahoans were assured that the federal program was necessary to prevent the animal’s extinction. Despite warnings from those who knew the truth about the harm these predators would wreak on the state, the plan went forward.
Today, the predators have more than recovered and their numbers are “well above” the threshold required to keep the animals off the endangered species list.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IFG) has documented at least 108 wolf packs in Idaho containing nearly 800 wolves. There are also at least 20 border packs counted by Montana, Wyoming, and Washington that have territories which cross into Idaho.
At least 33 of the Idaho packs met breeding pair criteria at the end of 2015 which is more than double the federal recovery requirement of 15 breeding pairs.
These IFG numbers may be well below the actual numbers according to Ron Gillett of the Idaho Anti-Wolf Coalition.
Gillett believes the IFG estimate is based upon incorrect data and that field experience shows the number is closer to 4,000. “You cannot manage these animals in any number,” Gillett explained, citing the rugged nature of the terrain and the wolves’ range and mobility as well as their reproduction capacity. IFG claims that Canadian gray wolves maintain strict breeding habits and constantly refer to “mating pairs” that produce one litter of three to six pups each year. But Gillett and others claim that female wolves are having up to two litters of six to 12 pups each year and that the “mating pairs” term is used to curry public support for a program that has gone out of control by romanticizing wolves.
Regardless of their numbers, the fact remains that the Canadian gray wolves are dangerous predators that are endangering wildlife, livestock, and even people.
The introduction of the Canadian gray wolves into the Intermountain West is just one of the many ways in which the federal government’s War on the West has been waged against the lives and livelihoods of those who live there. Until we acknowledge the error of this program and take steps to correct it, the harm will only continue to increase.
NOTE: The Canadian gray wolves which were introduced into Idaho are NOT the smaller, almost dog-sized wolves which once called the state home. The wolves that were brought in by the feds are much larger and far more aggressive than the native wolves.
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