NEWS RELEASE – Department of Interior, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
In an effort to provide additional service to the citizens of Idaho, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Idaho Fish and Wildlife Office is opening today a 24-hour, toll-free line for calls related to endangered gray wolf management within the state. The action was taken in response to Idaho Governor C. L. Otter’s announcement that the State of Idaho would no longer manage wolves as a designated agent under the Endangered Species Act.
Procedures for reporting and addressing wolf depredation incidents will remain unchanged. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Division will continue to respond to suspected wolf depredations on livestock or pets. Calls about depredations should continue to be directed to Wildlife Services at 866-487-3297 or 208-378-5077.
“We learned on October 18 that Governor Otter terminated state management of wolves in Idaho. We want to assure the public that the Fish and Wildlife Service will investigate all wolf depredation incidents and take appropriate action,” said Robyn Thorson, Regional Director for the Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Region. “When livestock depredation is reported, we will continue to work closely with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services Division as it investigates depredation by problem wolves, and we will authorize wolf control as situations dictate.”
Additionally, the toll-free line at 877-661-1908 will serve as a clearinghouse call center to help the public report wolf mortality and find answers to other wolf management questions as the transition from state to federal management occurs. A similar service was previously provided by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
The Governor’s order ended efforts by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game to act as the Service’s designated agent for wolf management. In that capacity, the state was responsible for monitoring wolf populations, conducting investigations into illegal killings, responding to illegal takings, and implementing a livestock depredation response program.
In August, a federal court ruled that the delisting of the Northern Rocky Mountain Distinct Population Segment of the gray wolf was not valid and returned wolves to the list of endangered species. In Idaho south of Interstate 90, wolves are protected as an experimental population, which provides more flexibility compared to those classified as endangered north of the Interstate.
South of Interstate 90, anyone may legally shoot a wolf in the act of attacking any type of livestock on their private land or grazing allotment, and anyone may shoot a wolf chasing or attacking their dog or stock animals anywhere except within the National Park System.
North of the Interstate, endangered wolves are subject to additional protections and can only legally be taken when authorized by a permit issued by the Service or if exempted by an incidental take statement associated with a consultation with the Service that results in a biological opinion. Livestock owners are prohibited from taking wolves seen actively chasing, attacking, or killing their livestock; only authorized agents can take chronically depredating endangered wolves.