The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has taken over wolf management in Idaho and plans to open a 24-hour, toll-free line for calls related to endangered gray wolf management within Idaho.
The action comes in response to Idaho Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter's announcement that the state would no longer manage wolves as a designated agent under the Endangered Species Act.
The toll-free line would serve as a clearinghouse to help the public report wolf mortality and find answers to other wolf management questions as the transition from state to federal management occurs.
"We want to assure the public that the Fish and Wildlife Service will investigate all wolf depredation incidents and take appropriate action," said Robyn Thorson, director for the Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Region. "When livestock depredation is reported, we will continue to work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Division as it investigates depredation by problem wolves, and we will authorize wolf control as situations dictate."
Procedures for reporting wolf depredation incidents remain unchanged. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services Division will continue to respond to suspected wolf depredations on livestock or pets. To report wolf depredations, contact Wildlife Services at 866-487-3297 or 208-378-5077.
In August, a federal court found that the Fish and Wildlife Service's rule delisting wolves in the Northern Rocky Mountains was not valid and returned wolves to the endangered species list.
In Idaho south of Interstate 90, wolves are protected as an experimental population. Anyone may legally shoot a wolf in the act of attacking any type of livestock on their private land or grazing allotment, and anyone may shoot a wolf chasing or attacking their dog or stock animals anywhere except within National Park Service lands.
North of the Interstate, endangered wolves are subject to additional protections and may be taken legally only when authorized by the Fish and Wildlife Service. Livestock owners may not kill wolves seen actively chasing, attacking or killing their livestock; only authorized agents may take chronically depredating endangered wolves.