03:31 PM

A Victory for Wolves: Idaho Terminates Wolf Killing Program in Frank Church Wilderness

A Victory for Wolves: Idaho Terminates Wolf Killing Program in Frank Church Wilderness


Melanie Gade: mgade@defenders.org; (202) 772-0288 

Suzanne Stone: SStone@defenders.org; (208) 861-4655    

POCATELLO, ID – Late Monday night, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) announced an end to their wolf extermination program in the Frank Church Wilderness Area, after Defenders and other conservation groups took the issue to federal court earlier this month.

In mid-December, IDFG hired a trapper to exterminate the Golden and Monumental wolf packs in central Idaho’s Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness Area with the goal of inflating elk populations for outfitters and recreational hunters. Defenders and other groups sued IDFG and the U.S. Forest Service (FS) which manages the area, arguing that the extermination program disregarded the FS’s own predator policy as set forth in the wilderness management plan for the area, failed to appropriately consider the environmental impacts of this action, and was conducted without appropriate public input.

An initial request for an injunction to stop the killing was rejected by a federal judge in Idaho on January 17 so Defenders and coalition partners appealed the District Court’s decision, filing an emergency request for an injunction on January 23 with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. And yesterday, rather than face another day in court, IDFG halted its extermination program before the Ninth Circuit could rule.  

Since January 15, the trapper killed nine wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness, but now he will pack out of the wilderness area after removing traps and snares from the area.  

Defenders of Wildlife President Jamie Rappaport Clark provides the following statement:

“While it is great news that this extermination program has ended, tragically it still resulted in the loss of nine wolves in a wilderness area that should have been a safe haven for them, if the U.S. Forest Service had complied with its own policies and procedures,”  said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “Ending this unfounded assault on wolves which was designed to benefit a few outfitters grants a reprieve to the remaining members of the Golden and Monumental wolf packs, and is hopefully a first step in permanently stopping such wolf pack eradication efforts in the future.”


Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews.