Friday, October 1, 2010

Wolf story off the mark

A story in Sept. 24 Express about the Galena wolves had several inaccuracies. The wolves were shot in the Sawtooth Valley near Smiley Creek, not Stanley. The article said that Wildlife Services, a federal agency that kills predators for the livestock industry, only removes wolves that they know have attacked cattle or sheep. Nothing could be more false. It doesn't matter to Wildlife Services or to the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, which issues lethal control orders, what wolves are removed.

The article stated that the wolves had been involved in "repeated depredations." The fact is, one sheep was killed in Fourth of July Creek in June, and one calf supposedly killed Sept. 7 near Smiley Creek on the irrigated circles. Fish and Game told Wildlife Services to take out three wolves. No matter that the wolves live and the sheep and cattle graze on the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, a place where wildlife is supposed to take precedence. Fish and Game, an agency that has made it clear that it has no use for wolves, does nothing to encourage or educate ranchers to learn to live with wolves.

So, on Sept. 13, a federal trapper trapped and killed a black wolf near Smiley Creek. There's never been a black wolf with the Galena Pack until now. The trapper also caught a 5-month-old wolf pup and collared it, to use as a "Judas" wolf. This pup led the trapper to the Galena Pack's alpha female B107, and on Sept. 16 she was shot. Wolf B107 had been in the Sawtooth Valley since 2003. I had seen her many times and I will miss her.

There is still a kill order out for another wolf. It doesn't matter whether the Wildlife Services agent pops a pup or what.

Boulder-White Clouds Council will be leading a tribute to B107 and her Galena pack. Please join us.

Lynne Stone

Director, Boulder-White Clouds Council


Editor's note: The story titled "2 wolves killed near Stanley" in the Sept. 24 edition did include an inaccurate statement from Wildlife Services spokeswoman Lyndsay Cole that Wildlife Services can pinpoint the exact wolves involved in a livestock killing.

Todd Grimm, spokesman for Wildlife Services, said the agency can determine whether a livestock death was due to wolves or another predator. He said the agency will only remove wolves from packs they know to be involved in livestock depredation. Grimm said the agency is certain the alpha female killed was not the mother of pups in the area. He also said the kill order for the third wolf has been suspended but not canceled.

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