Feds hand management of Idaho gray wolves over to the state

Uh oh, there’s gonna be some shootin’! The Bush administration has transferred management of the gray wolf population in Idaho to the state government — even though the animal is still listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. The deal was sealed at a Thursday ceremony in Boise attended by Gov. Dirk Kempthorne (R) and Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton. Wolf advocates worry that the handoff will lead to weaker protections for the state’s recovered wolf population, noting that while there are currently around 61 packs of wolves in Idaho, the state’s management plans call for maintaining a minimum of only 15. “The provisions allow 11 different tasks that Idaho Fish and Game and the state will be responsible for,” said Suzanne Stone with Defenders of Wildlife, and “eight of those 11 involve killing wolves.” Norton, of course, put a positive spin on the shift, saying, “These populations have grown beyond anyone’s expectations.” So then why not start killing them off?