Forest Service Protections Sought for Wolves in Idaho, Montana Wildernesses

BOZEMAN, Mont.— A coalition of wildlife advocacy groups, represented by the non-profit environmental law firm Earthjustice, today asked the U.S. Forest Service to issue new protections for wolves in designated wilderness areas following Idaho and Montana’s enactment of a rash of aggressive anti-wolf laws.

The groups’ petition, submitted to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and top Forest Service officials, asks the agency to enact measures to protect wolves in National Forest wilderness areas from new Idaho and Montana laws authorizing use of professional contractors and private reimbursement programs resembling 19th-Century wolf bounties to dramatically reduce wolf populations in the two states.

During their 2021 sessions, the legislatures of Idaho and Montana both enacted harsh anti-wolf laws that target up to 1,800 wolves across the two states. One goal of the laws is to artificially inflate elk populations to levels last seen in the mid-1990s, before wolves were reintroduced to their historic range in the Northern Rockies.

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Banner photo Center for Biological Diversity; photo of jaguar by Robin Silver, Center for Biological Diversity