On the eve of Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, the Basin Butte wolf pack of Stanley was brutally gunned down from the air by Wildlife Services at the urging of state game managers and the livestock industry. This, in addition to the hunting season on wolves just extended in all regions, is a black mark on the state of Idaho.
Wildlife Services, formerly Animal Damage Control, the extermination arm of the Department of Agriculture, is responsible for these killings. With your tax dollars, this agency traps, poisons shoots and guns down from the air millions of animals a year. Between 2004 and 2008, Wildlife Services killed 696,936 coyotes and 1,456 wolves nationally. Cougars, bears, starlings, foxes, eagles, raccoons and dozens of other species suffer similar deaths. The price for shooting one wolf from the sky can cost $1,000.
Of the 104.5 million cattle produced in 2005, only 0.18 percent died as the result of predation. In comparison, 3.69 percent were lost to illness, weather, theft and poison. Coyotes killed 97,000 cattle. Domestic dogs killed 21,900. Wolves killed remarkably few cattle, 4,400.
The numbers are shocking and the killing we pay for is appalling.
What can you do? Call and register your complaint to Jim Lukens, Salmon regional supervisor of Wildlife Services at (208) 756-2271 and to Ed Mitchell, Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208) 334-3700.