Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wolf supporters to hold vigil

Hunt in Wood River Valley set to begin Oct. 1

Express Staff Writer

Just over two weeks after wolf hunting season opened in parts of Idaho, opponents to the hunt will hold a vigil in Ketchum.

It will take place in Ketchum Town Plaza on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 4:30 p.m.

Karen McCall, who with Eloise Christensen is organizing the vigil, asked residents of the Wood River Valley to attend to show support for the environmental groups engaged in a legal battle with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The latter's decision to remove wolves in the northern Rockies from protection under the federal Endangered Species Act is being challenged in court by Earthjustice, a law firm representing numerous conservation and wildlife groups.

"It is our turn to speak for wolves, to stop killing and to teach coexistence," McCall said in a news release.

Wolf hunting in Idaho began Sept. 1 in two of the 12 wolf zones throughout the state. To date, four wolves have been killed, including one in the Sawtooth zone, two in the Lolo zone in north-central Idaho and one illegally killed in the McCall-Weiser zone, which is not open for wolf hunting until Oct. 1.

The hunt in Idaho allows up to 220 wolves to be legally killed by hunters and another 35 to be taken by the Nez Perce tribe. Seventy-five wolves can be legally shot in Montana, where the wolf season opened Tuesday.

The Southern Mountains zone, which includes the Wood River Valley, home range of the Phantom Hill pack, is open for hunting from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, with a quota of 10 wolves.

Jon Duval:

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