Defending Idaho’s wolves from Wildlife Services

9th of May 2017

By Arie Weidemaier

May 9, 2017

The phrase “Predator management” seems uncontroversial. In Idaho, this phrase often refers to “management” of wild wolf populations by a secretive federal agency known as Wildlife Services. One of the biggest problems with how this agency operates is the lack of public participation – the public is mostly unaware of wolf killings until after the fact, if even then.

Wolves may be aerially gunned down, or caught in traps and left to die. Aerial gunning causes an extreme amount of stress in wolves, for survivors and those killed, and it may not make a clean kill. These wounds can cause extreme suffering and a painful, protracted death. And if traps aren’t checked regularly, wolves could endure a massive amount of pain as well.

Another problem with the way wolves are managed in Idaho, along with the lack of public engagement, is the inefficient use of non-fatal alternatives. Both problems go against a federal statute known as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). NEPA specifically calls for public disclosure of wildlife management events before it happens. It also calls for the public to know about any environmental consequences that may occur. NEPA also demands that actions and environmental consequences of management be reviewed thoroughly beforehand, and that alternatives be looked at as well.

The truth is, Wildlife Services in Idaho does not always follow NEPA regulations. In my view, it is honestly a disgrace. The public should be made aware of how wolves are treated. If the public was more involved in these kinds of decisions, I believe that this situation would be improved in almost every aspect, and wolves would be managed in a more ethical way. Some of the public would insist the amount of pain the wolves experience should be minimized. Also, many people would like to have non-fatal alternatives used more often.

The more people that are aware, the more perspectives and alternatives there will be. I believe this would lead to great improvements for wolf management in Idaho, with benefits to both citizens and these great creatures.

Arie Weidemaier is originally from Anchorage, Alaska, and is currently a freshman at Boise State University, studying Environmental Studies.  Arie has always been passionate about preserving wildlife, with wolves being one of his favorite animals.