Idaho governor signs bill that will allow killing of up to 90% of state’s wolf population

BOISE, Idaho — Idaho’s governor signed legislation into law that will allow the killing of approximately 90% of the state’s wolf population.

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Gov. Brad Little signed Senate Bill 1211, which allocates taxpayer money to pay private contractors to kill wolves, KTVB reported. The measure also also allows more hunters and trappers to kill the animals, the television station reported. The governor’s office announced the signing Thursday, noting that Little approved the measure Wednesday.

Under the new law, up to 1,350 wolves can be killed. The law expands the way the animals can be killed, with hunters using night-vision equipment, snowmobiles, ATVs and helicopters, according to The Associated Press. Newborn pups can also be killed if they are found on private land, according to the law.

The measure was backed by the agriculture industry in the state, who said the state’s wolf population was too high, KTVB reported.

The Idaho Cattle Association, which represents ranchers, said it supported the bill because it allows the free-market system to play a role in killing wolves, the AP reported.

“I think (the new law) will be very effective,” Steve Alder, of Idaho for Wildlife, told the AP. “I really do think that they’ll finally get wolves down to the 150.”

The bill was opposed by both the Idaho Fish and Game Commission and animal advocates. About 500 wolves were killed in 2019 and 2020, according to KTVB.

The new law was also panned by the Humane Society of the United States and the Center for Biological Diversity.

“Backed by an array of misinformation and fearmongering, the state legislature stepped over experts at the Idaho Fish and Game Department and rushed to pass this horrific wolf-killing bill,” Andrea Zaccardi, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, told KTVB. “And Republican lawmakers have promised that this is just the beginning, even though the new measure would doom 90% of Idaho’s wolves. We’re disappointed that Gov. Little signed such a cruel and ill-conceived bill into law.”

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