- The Idaho Senate approved a plan that will see up to 90% of the state’s wolves killed.
- The move is designed to protect cattle and other livestock.
- The bill will allow the wolves to be “killed without limit,” said animal welfare campaigners.
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The Idaho Senate has approved a plan that will allow up to 90% of the state’s wolves to be killed in a move that animal welfare campaigners warn will allow them to be killed “without limits.”
The bill was approved Wednesday in a 26-7 vote and is designed to cut the wolf population from 1,500 to around 150, The New York Times reported, meaning it will now pass to the State House of Representatives.
Republican Idaho Sen. Mark Harris, who sponsored the bill, said during a debate on the Senate floor, per AP: “These wolves, there’s too many in the state of Idaho now. We’re supposed to have 15 packs, 150 wolves. We’re up to 1,553, was the last count, 1,556, something like that. They’re destroying ranchers. They’re destroying wildlife. This is a needed bill.”
The bill would give Idaho’s Wolf Control Fund an extra $190,000 to pay contractors to kill wolves, the New York Times reported, in addition to an existing $400,000 budget, with restrictions removed on the number of wolves a hunter is allowed to kill.
The legislation was first presented to the House in February.
Former Idaho Sen. Jeff Siddoway, who introduced the bill on behalf of Republican Rep. Van Burtenshaw, said that the bill was designed to deal with “the increasing wolf population that we’ve been living with” since they were introduced to Idaho in 1995, Phys.Org reported.
Wolves were removed from Idaho’s list of endangered species in 2011, and wolves that attack livestock or domestic animals can already legally be killed without a permit.
Living with Wolves, a wolf advocacy group, said in February that there were only an estimated 900 wolves in Idaho and said the legislation meant they were given the same designation as skunks and raccoons.
“For a keystone species and native wild animal of paramount importance to Idaho ecosystems, if passed, this bill will mean that Idaho’s 900 wolves will be killed without limit, at any time, by anyone without the need to buy a hunting tag, or the need to report the wolves they kill, by any legal means,” said Garrick Dutcher, program and research director at Living With Wolves, in February in a statement cited by the Idaho Statesman.
“The small list of other species in Idaho that are managed by this designation include skunks, raccoons and coyotes, each of which likely number in the tens of thousands of animals, not 900.”