The Idaho Fish and Game Department, in conjunction with the USDA Wildlife Services, despicably gunned down 20 wolves over the Clearwater National Forest in north-central Idaho recently. . Helicopter gunning of wolves, or any other species, should not be a “tool in the toolbox” in 21st century wildlife management. It’s barbaric, immoral, and expensive and is not grounded in science.
The “Lolo Zone” of the Clearwater National Forest provides the best habitat for large carnivores in the Lower 48. The rugged slopes and vast roadless terrain of the North Fork Clearwater and the upper Lochsa River drainage provides crucial habitat for gray wolves, Canada lynx, wolverines, fisher and, historically, grizzly bears.
Stand-replacing wildfires and the eradication of predators in the 20th century created good habitat for elk in the “Lolo Zone.” Elk numbers reached 16,000 in the 1980s. Those numbers have since declined for two main reasons: harsh winters in the 1990s killed thousands of elk, and the complete suppression of fires over the past century has led to forest succession and a change in forest type or habitat.
The Idaho Fish and Game Department lacks credibility. Stop the elk farming and keep Idaho wild.
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Brett Haverstick, Moscow