BLM cancels wolf killing permit on public lands

WolvesA surprise victory for wolves in Idaho.

After a lawsuit by the Center for Biological Diversity and allies, the Bureau of Land Management has cancelled a permit allowing an anti-wolf group to conduct a predator-killing contest on more than 3 million acres of public land.

The permit would have allowed the group “Idaho for Wildlife” to conduct killing derbies targeting wolves, coyotes and other species every winter for the next five years on BLM land. The contest included prizes for killing the most predators. The Center got word of the cancelled permit this week, just as they were preparing to file a major brief in the case to stop this year’s contest, which was set to begin Jan. 2, 2015.

“We’re so glad that the deadly derby has been canceled this year,” said Amy Atwood, senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, who represents the Center, Western Watersheds Project and Project Coyote. “These sort of ruthless kill-fests have no place in this century.”

Wolf pupsThe hunt would have allowed up to 500 participants compete to kill the largest number of wolves, coyotes and other animals for cash and prizes. Contest organizers are hoping to expand their contest statewide.

“BLM’s first-ever approval of a wolf hunting derby on public lands undercuts wolf recovery efforts, so it’s good they cancelled this permit,” said Laird Lucas, director of litigation at Advocates for the West, which represents Defenders of Wildlife.

Wolves were removed from the endangered species list in 2011 following many years of recovery efforts in central and eastern Idaho, where public lands are supposed to provide core refugia in the face of aggressive hunting and trapping in Idaho.

“Killing wildlife for fun and prizes on public lands that belong to all Americans is not only reprehensible, it is also a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine and contravenes Idaho Fish and Game’s policy condemning killing contests as unethical and ecologically unsound,” said Camilla Fox, founder and executive director of Project Coyote. “It is high time the BLM acknowledges that wildlife killing contests are not an acceptable ‘use’ of public lands.”

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