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Idaho Fish and Game approves plan to reduce wolf population from 1,300 to 500

A grey wolf standing in front of a blurred nature background.
Doug Lindstrand
Getty Images

The Idaho Fish and Game Department unanimously approved a plan that would cull Idaho’s wolf population by almost two-thirds.

In January, Fish and Game introduced a plan laying out population goals for the state and asked for public feedback. The department received more than 2500 comments from across the country, most opposing the plan. Of those, feedback from Idahoans was more split, but still leaning against.

Garrick Dutcher from the Living with Wolves nonprofit said the agency did not adjust its plan in response to public comments.

“Everyone should have a say and should be listened to when it comes to management. It shouldn't be just driven by those who consume wildlife,” he said.

Since 2019, there have been on average about 1,300 wolves statewide; the agency wants that number lowered to around 500. Conservation groups say the estimation model used to count the wolves is flawed, and such a small population is not enough to ensure genetic diversity. Dutcher said the threat to livestock is also minimal.

“Hopefully Fish and Game can find avenues in which to step off the gas and allow native carnivores to exist on this landscape the way they can,” Dutcher said, adding the current goals would be disruptive.

“Wolves are part of the natural heritage of the state. There's not much more of a magical experience than hearing wolves howl in the wild,” he added.

Under the January plan, population reductions would be achieved through continued hunting and trapping of wolves in Idaho.

I joined Boise State Public Radio in 2022 as the Canyon County reporter through Report for America, to report on the growing Latino community in Idaho. I am very invested in listening to people’s different perspectives and I am very grateful to those who are willing to share their stories with me. It’s a privilege and I do not take it for granted.

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