Wolf Control Proposal

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The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has released a proposal to reduce the wolf population by up to 43 wolves or about 75 percent in the Lolo elk management zone of the Clearwater Region.

Fish and Game biologists say wolf predation is a significant contributor to the decline of elk numbers in the Lolo zone and may be preventing population recovery. The proposal is made under the revised 10(j) rule of the Endangered Species Act, which took effect in February 2005 and allows removal of wolves having an unacceptable effect on elk and deer populations. The proposal must be approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The proposal entitled "Effects of Wolf Predation on North Central Idaho Elk Populations" is available for public review on the Fish and Game Website: http://fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Fish and Game is seeking public comments on the proposal. Anyone interested may send comments from the Department website or by mail to: IDFG Wolf Comments, P.O. Box 25, Boise ID 83707.

Fish and Game also plans two public meetings from 5 to 9 p.m. on February 2 at the Double Tree Riverside Motel, 2900 Chinden Blvd. Garden City, and on February 7 at the Fish and Game Regional Office, 3316 16th St., Lewiston. Anyone interested may sign up to speak at the meeting. Individuals and groups will each have three minutes to speak. Elected officials or their representatives will be allowed to testify when they arrive. A hearing officer and court reporter will receive comments for the record.

The public comment period runs until midnight February 17.

Once public comments have been reviewed and incorporated, the Idaho Fish and Game Commission, during its next meeting the first week of March, will decide whether the proposal should be submitted to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for review.