For Immediate Release: May 19, 2021
Contact: Derek Goldman, Endangered Species Coalition, firstname.lastname@example.org, (406) 370-6491
Adam Bronstein, Western Watersheds Project, email@example.com, (208) 244-0904
Boise, ID – At the quarterly meeting of the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board on Wednesday, the Idaho Dept. of Fish and Game (IDFG) reported that it spent $67,536.15 to kill 22 wolves by aircraft on public lands in the southern Panhandle in fiscal year 2021. The wolves were killed by helicopter and fix-wing aircraft in the Lolo Elk Zone of Game Management Unit 10 at an average cost of more than $3,000 per wolf.
“Spending thousands of dollars per animal to kill wolves is unnecessary and an irresponsible use of public money,” said Derek Goldman, Northern Rockies Field Representative for the Endangered Species Coalition. “Wolf-livestock depredation is minimal, and is more-efficiently addressed by proactive, non-lethal prevention methods that are being successfully deployed throughout the region.”
Additionally, IDFG reported an extra $30,000 supplemental grant to the Foundation for Wildlife Management (F4WM) to reimburse wolf hunters and trappers for expenses incurred during wolf harvest. According to IDFG records obtained this past March, F4WM paid out $12,000 in funds to its own directors and their families over the past two years, including $4,000 in bounties to executive director Justin Webb, $5,000 to the vice-president of the board, and $3,000 to the wife, son and grandson of another board member. $10,000 of that was paid out in FY2019, representing nearly 22 percent of all program funds for that year. Webb appeared before the Montana Senate Fish and Game Committee in Helena on February 25th as a lead proponent of a bill to establish a similar program in Montana. F4WM’s next report to IDFG is due on July 31. The Foundation for Wildlife Management lists the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Mule Deer Foundation, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game among some of its partners.
“It’s ethically questionable and self-serving for a nonprofit organization to be paying out its primary program funds to its own staff, board and their family members.” said Goldman.
Governor Little recently signed SB 1211—a bill that would effectively triple the amount of funds that the Wolf Control Board can spend annually to kill wolves, allows the hiring of private contractors to kill wolves, and allows the harvest of an unlimited number of wolves on a single hunting or trapping license. The bill has been widely criticized as extreme, unethical and unnecessary.
“The ranching and livestock industry has effectively seized control of decision making and funding allocation around wolf management in Idaho” said Adam Bronstein, Idaho Director with Western Watersheds Project. “Aerial gunning of wolves is cruel and reprehensible and makes a spectacle of the state of Idaho. This amounts to nothing short of a national embarrassment.”