Opinion

Why do Idaho, other states never take the wolves’ side?

No matter what steps are taken, inevitably there will be conflicts between livestock and wildlife, whether that be bison or big, bad wolves.

It also appears inevitable the state — no matter if it is Wyoming, Montana, Idaho or Washington — will take the side of livestock and ranchers, even when the incidents in question take place on public lands.

Unfortunately, when the state takes the side of the livestock and ranchers, that means the removal — the official nice word for extermination — of native wildlife.

Such is currently the case in Washington state’s Colville National Forest, where the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is exterminating the Profanity Peak pack, which is believed to be responsible for having killed six head of cattle belonging to Diamond M Ranch since July.

So far, the state has killed six wolves. The remaining members of the pack include two radio-collared adults and several pups. Using the radios, it is just a matter of time before they are tracked down.

This is the second time the state has sided with Diamond M Ranch after conflicts with wolves. According to the Spokesman-Review, after the Wedge Pack killed or injured 16 calves in 2012, the state spent an estimated $76,500 to wipe out the seven-wolf pack.

We just have to ask why it is always the wolves that have to go and never the cattle, and how many times will the state come to the aid of the Diamond M Ranch and its owner, Bill McIrvin? It is just a matter of time before a new pack will move in to fill the void in the Colville National Forest.

In addition to the state paying to kill wolves for McIrvin, the ranch is also reimbursed for lost cattle, even if he released his livestock in an area known to be in the range of the pack’s den.

Rob Wielgus, the director of Washington State University’s Large Carnivore Conservation, told The Seattle Times that the Diamond M Ranch released cows “on top” of a wolf’s den. We didn’t take the “on top” comment literally, but apparently the university did and issued a statement Wednesday calling Wielgus’ comments “inaccurate and inappropriate,” while noting the cows were turned out more than 4 miles from the den.

WSU’s decision to throw Wielgus under the bus seems odd to us. We wonder if they caved to the same pressure that got to the state.

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