Lifting of gray wolf protections not anticipated to have large impact on Idaho

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) A proposal from U.S. wildlife officials to remove protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states has sparked a debate between conservation groups as well as ranchers and farmers. Idaho's wolf population is somewhere under 1,000, which begs the question how would the lifting of protections impact Idahoans.

While protections for wolves in Idaho have already been lifted, there are some that believe lifting the protections on a national level would lead to an increase in hunting and trapping of gray wolves that would move them back toward being considered endangered once again. The lifting of protections for the gray wolf has been something the Obama and Bush administrations previously sought after.

"It's been tried several times and it has been typically challenged in the courts, and then tried again," co-founder of the International Wolf Center, Nancy Gibson says.

Some Idahoans believe the species has been coddled in recent years, which has mainly been at the expense of the public.

"I would be ready for them to de-list them," Dan Hadley says, "I think we don't need the wolves that we have."

Hadley says the wolves have grown in population enough, they're starting to cause an impact for many in the Gem State.

"They've been decimating the elk and deer herds for quite a few years now," Hadley says. "You're seeing the animals being pushed down into rural areas where people are living trying to get away from them."

President of the Idaho Trappers Association, Rusty Kramer, says if the protection are lifted, it wont impact Idahoans.

"As President of the Idaho Trappers Association, I don't think its going to change anything in Idaho, because we have pretty extensive hunting and trapping season."

Kramer says the big changes will be once the wolves set foot in states like Washington or Oregon, to name a few.

"If Oregon wants to have a hunting season, they can't," Kramer says.
"Once that wolf steps into Washington, Oregon, they're protected. If they lift the protections, it will be a life changer for them, because they're plum full of wolves."

And Gibson from the International Wolf Center says, looking at where wolves end up at is something we should be paying attention to.

"Where do we want wolves to live?," Gibson asked. "Our society has great value for our natural resources and if we're going to have an intact system were going to need wolves and other predators in it"

For the time being, the protections are still in place, and what's been proposed is still merely just a proposal.

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