Update on Frank Church Lawsuit: Earlier this month, Defenders and several other nonprofits filed suit against the U.S. Forest Service and Idaho Fish and Game for hiring a trapper to exterminate two wolf packs in the remote Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness in Idaho.
Unfortunately, last Friday a federal judge in Idaho denied our request to end the program. Jonathan Proctor, Defenders’ program director for the Rockies and Plains said: “We are extremely disappointed that the court refused to put an immediate stop to Idaho’s wolf eradication program… [k]illing wolves to artificially increase elk herds for hunters is no way to manage a wilderness area.” Defenders and our coalition partners have appealed the district court’s decision and requested an emergency injunction with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. We expect a ruling from the 9th Circuit sometime after next Wednesday. Sadly, as of January 15th, nine wolves had already been killed, and the trapper has already set many traps that will likely result in deaths of additional wolves and possibly other native wildlife species. This PBS Nature episode, River of No Return showcases the rugged beauty of the Frank Church Wilderness and the exact wolf packs being killed by the trapper now. Even though much damage is already done, Defenders will continue to fight this egregious program because this wolf pack extermination effort sets a horrible precedent for state management of wolves in federal wilderness areas.