Idaho Wolves Returned to Endangered Species List

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We are very disappointed by District Judge Donald Molloy's ruling, returning gray wolves to endangered species protection.

"This is a major setback for responsible wildlife management in Idaho. We have demonstrated our ability to conduct a hunting season in an orderly fashion," Idaho Fish and Game Commission Chairman Dr. Wayne Wright. "It's a shame when legal twists can trump wildlife management. This is not how the Endangered Species Act should work."

We don't know yet what this means for the upcoming wolf season. But for the time being we have suspended wolf tag sales until we've had a chance to further review the decision.

"We're frustrated; we're angry; we're disappointed," Idaho Fish and Game Deputy Director Jim Unsworth said. "We've played by the rules, but his decision allows procedural technicalities to overcome sound science and common sense."

Wolves south of Interstate 90 have reverted to management under a section of the Endangered Species Act known as the 10(j) rule, allowing some flexibility to respond to livestock depredation and impacts on big game. The rule also allows individuals on private or public land to kill a wolf that is in the act of attacking their stock animals or dogs. Wolf north of Interstate 90 in Idaho are fully protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Idaho still must follow the rule of law, and we will look at all legal options to see what's the best way out of this mess. Fish and Game still will work to resolve conflicts between wolves and other game animals, including proposals to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for wolf control actions to protect dwindling game herds and reduce livestock predation.