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Idaho Fish And Game Kills Wolves To Boost Elk Populations

gray wolf, wolves
U.S. Fish & Wildlife

It’s common for western states to lethally control wolves when they eat livestock, but Idaho is the only state that’s actively killing the carnivores for wildlife management.

This week Idaho Fish and Game shot and killed ten wolves in Northern Idaho, as part of an effort to boost dwindling elk populations. Not everyone is happy with the effort.

Erik Molvar is with the environmental group, Western Watersheds Project.  He questions the science behind the policy.

"It has never been shown to actually increase elk populations and indeed is actually disruptive," Molvar says.

Idaho Fish and Game says it’s in the middle of studying the issue. Jim Hayden is a wildlife biologist with the agency.  

"It’s one that we’re collecting the science on still," he explains. "That’s what some of this monitoring is getting at, is okay how effective is this?"

Although Idaho is thought to have the highest population of gray wolves in the West, the species is also now in Wyoming, Montana, Washington, Oregon and California.

Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.

Amanda Peacher works for the Mountain West News Bureau out of Boise State Public Radio. She's an Idaho native who returned home after a decade of living and reporting in Oregon. She's an award-winning reporter with a background in community engagement and investigative journalism.