Idaho Fish and Game’s wrist slapped after collaring wolves by helicopter

Gray Wolf. Credit NPS, Ken Conger

Gray Wolf. Credit NPS, Ken Conger


Author: Steven Shaw
Date: 01.20.16

BOISE, IDAHO – The Idaho Department of Fish and Game has been issued a notice of non-compliance from the United States Forest Service. The notice comes after the department violated an agreement by using a helicopter to put tracking collars on wolves in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.

On January 6, the Forest Service approved the state agencies request to use helicopters to put collars on elk only. In reality, collars were also placed on wolves. In a statement released on January 13, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game acknowledged its mistake: “Fish and Game officials realize this mistake affects the agency's credibility and takes the matter seriously. The error was due to a breakdown in internal communications…. As the deputy in charge of Fish and Game field operations, I accept full responsibility for this," Deputy Director Ed Schriever said. "We made a mistake in not clearly communicating mission limitations to one of our helicopter crews. We will refine our procedures to make sure this doesn't happen again."

Environmental groups have rallied against Idaho Department of Fish and Game fearing that the collars will be used to track and kill the wolves.  The four wolves that were collared were in fact released unharmed. The notice of non-compliance includes additional requirements the state must follow when asking for approval to use helicopters in wilderness areas.

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