Once again, wolves in the U.S. are sadly fetching the short end of the stick — after getting delisted from the Endangered Species Act in October 2020, the beloved wild pups are facing serious trouble in the state of Idaho. The state's senate unfortunately approved a bill that would kill about 90 percent of the species' in-state population in the name of "population control," crushing the hearts of conservationists and animal lovers nationwide.
“The Idaho Senate’s sudden move to pass this bill in the eleventh hour incentivizes the cruel deaths of more than 1,000 wolves across the state,” said Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, as per AP News. “The consequences of this bill will be horrendous. This brutal war on wolves must be stopped, and we urge the House to deny this bill.”
Idaho's senate voted in favor of drastically reducing wolf population.
On Wednesday, April 21, Idaho senate voted 26-7 on a bill that would hire privately-contracted hunters to kill 90 percent of the state's wolf population, according to HuffPost. The "target" number of wolves statewide had been previously set at 150 in a 2002 conservation management plan. In the last 20 years, however, the wolf population has supposedly skyrocketed, resulting in this cruel form of "population control" called for by the agricultural industry.
If the wolf population were to fall below 150, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game would supposedly reduce the quota.
“These wolves, there’s too many in the state of Idaho now,” said Republican Sen. Mark Harris during the bill's debate on the Senate floor, as per HuffPost. “We’re supposed to have 15 packs, 150 wolves. We’re up to 1,553, was the last count, 1,556, something like that. They’re destroying ranchers. They’re destroying wildlife. This is a needed bill.”
If the bill passes, Idaho's Wolf Control Fund will receive $190,000 in funds to hire said private contractors to execute this cruel movement. In addition to allotting each hunter limitless kills, they will also be allowed to use night vision, and track the wolves using motorized vehicles, which isn't usually permitted, according to The New York Times.
Why is Idaho killing off its wolves?
As previously mentioned, the growing wolf population is supposedly hurting the agricultural industry, according to AP News. More and more wolves have been allegedly attacking farmers' cattle and sheep, which has reportedly cost the agricultural industry hundreds of thousands of dollars. Rising numbers are also affecting game hunters, as the wolves have supposedly reduced numbers of deer and elk available across the state.
According to KTVB7, the Humane Society of the United States issued a statement opposing the bill, saying this is "a blatant attempt to usurp state biologists tasked with managing Idaho's wolves."
"This bill doesn't just cross an ethical line; it sprints right past it. It is an embarrassment to the state of Idaho, and there is absolutely no scientific or ethical justification for this deeply misguided and dangerous legislation," the Humane Society's statement reads.
Senators supporting the bill, however, are minimizing the severity of this cruel and inhumane movement.
“The purpose of this legislation is to control the population, not to wipe them out,” said Republican Sen. Van Burtenshaw who also backed the bill, as per HuffPost. “There’s never been any discussion in the working group of complete annihilation of the wolf population, or killing 90 percent of the wolves.”
All eyes are currently on the House now — hopefully they will make the right decision, for the sake of the state's beloved wildlife.