[Idaho] Livestock leaders object to wolf relisting

Livestock leaders object to wolf relisting. Patricia R. McCoy. Capital Press

This article in a prominent ag newspaper says, among other things, that the Idaho Wolf Plan Plan went through 17 drafts and that the members worked hard and negotiated in good faith. Now those who didn’t like the product have litigated (bad bad!).

They don’t say the Idaho wolf plan was solely the product of the Idaho livestock industry with a couple of other token members. It doesn’t matter if it took them 100 drafts before they got their anti-wolf plan just right.

The members were: Jack Lavin, co-chair; Stan Boyd, co-chair; Ted Hoffman; Dr. Jim Peek, Bob Loucks
Cameron Wheeler, Laird Noh.

Except for Lavin (a Forest Service ex-bureaucrat) and Dr. Jim Peek (excellent), they were all anti-wolf, livestock people with Stan Boyd perhaps the most pervasive livestock lobbyist in Idaho.

Link to the Idaho Wolf Plan (adopted by the state legislature in 2002).

Judge Molloy’s decision, however, was not so much based on Idaho’s wolf plan as Wyoming’s, which many people thought was illegal on its face.

July 22, 2008. Editorial in the Idaho Statesman. Our View: Wyoming’s cavalier wolf plan set back delisting



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  1. Brian Ertz Avatar

    the suggestion that Idaho’s plan was ‘A-Okay’ has been getting a lot of play in the Idaho media.

    In my view, Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the
    majority of the claims relied upon in their request for a
    preliminary injunction. In particular, (1) the Fish & Wildlife
    Service acted arbitrarily in delisting the wolf despite a lack of
    evidence of genetic exchange between subpopulations; and (2) it acted arbitrarily and capriciously when it approved Wyoming’s
    2007 plan despite the State’s failure to commit to managing for 15 breeding pairs and the plan’s malleable trophy game area.

    Of FWS’s treatment of the Wyoming plan – Molloy said:

    Armed with the same information, the agency flip-flopped without explanation.

    And this is what’s important. The “irreparable injury” hurdle (one necessary justification for temporary injuction) was achieved by:

    Plaintiffs have also shown a significant possibility of irreparable injury. More wolves will be killed under state
    management than were killed when ESA protections were in place. Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming each have public wolf hunts scheduled for this fall. Additionally, the states’ defense of property laws permit the killing of wolves in more circumstances than defense of property regulations under the ESA. The killing of wolves during the pendency of this lawsuit will further reduce opportunities for genetic exchange among subpopulations [emphasis mine] .

    This is very important. The state’s plans compound and contribute to the grounds for his decision – i.e. the lack of genetic interchange.

    While it is true that the judge makes the statement that he believes the states’ assurances to cut off the hunt and “control” is adequate to maintain numbers – his whole decision is based on the importance of genetic interchange and the flagrantly arbitrary manner in which FWS approved Wyoming’s state plan.

    All of these articles spouting about how the judge approved Idaho and Montana’s state plans are flagrantly dishonest — they opportunistically only get it half right. The judge ruled that they may be enough to protect the number of wolves specified in the original recovery plan — but then he goes on to decide that the base numbers aren’t the only condition – genetic interchange is also a condition that the FWS subscribed to and arbitrarily ignored in its delisting rule.

    The judge rules that the FWS has not demonstrated that it has passed that hurdle – despite the numbers and that the state plans are immediate threats of irreparable injury to that hurdle. The state plans are part of why the temporary injuction was issued !


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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