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MYTH VS. FACT

Photo by Jake Davis

MYTH

The federal government consulted all relevant stakeholders when deciding to delist wolves.

FACT

President Trump did not consult Indigenous representatives when he chose to delist wolves, even though wolves are sacred creatures in many Native American cultures. By delisting wolves without the consultation or consent of Tribal nations, the federal government ignored its treaty and trust obligations.

 

Because of the cultural significance of wolves, some 200 Indigenous tribes have protested the decision to remove wolves from the Endangered Species List and have urged the federal government to relist wolves. 

MYTH

Wolves threaten the livestock industry.

Wolves are responsible for less than 1% of unwanted livestock deaths, though losses can fall disproportionately on some individual livestock producers.

Lethal removal of wolves can disrupt wolf social structures, does not always address the underlying causes of livestock depredation and wolves will often reestablish in the same areas.

Non-lethal methods provide another option for addressing livestock depredations. Implementation of nonlethal tools, like range riders and fladry, which involves creating a perimeter of colorful flags around livestock, combined with other techniques like strobe lights and loud noises have effectively reduced interaction between livestock and wolves. However wolves can become habituated to nonlethal tools over time, therefore, proactive methods to prevent wolves from being attracted to a livestock operation – such as removing bone piles - can further minimize livestock loss to wolves.

FACT

MYTH

Wolves are killing all of the elk in the Northern Rockies, making it more difficult to hunt large game.

FACT

Wolves and elk can live in ecological balance, as predator-prey relationships stabilize the populations of both species. Elk naturally defend themselves from the risks of predation by adopting more cautious behaviors when faced with predators. These behavioral adaptations help sustain the elk population.

Today, elk populations in the Northern Rockies are thriving. In 2020, there were over 120,000 elk in Idaho and over 130,000 elk in Montana.

MYTH

The wolf population has already bounced back to a stable size. As such, the species does not need the protections of the Endangered Species List.

FACT

While the wolf population has reached the recovery thresholds that were determined in 1978, these metrics are woefully outdated. As the field of conservation biology has evolved and climate change has posed new threats to endangered species, it is critical to update recovery thresholds according to modern science.

Today, the population of wolves is in jeopardy. Gray wolves are functionally extinct in 80% of their historic range and just 6,000 wolves live across the continental U.S.  

Extreme wolf hunts further jeopardize the stability of the wolf population. This year’s Idaho wolf hunt authorizes 90% of the state’s wolves to be killed, and Montana’s laws allow the hunting of 85% of wolves

Dan Ashe, the former U.S. Fish and Wildlife Director who oversaw the delisting of wolves in the Northern Rockies, has argued that the wolf population is in jeopardy because state hunts “are erasing progress made to conserve this species.” Ashe has publicly called for the federal government to reinstate protections for American wolves. 

MYTH

Data-driven science helps determine state wolf-hunt quotas in order to prevent massive population declines.

FACT

Across the country, state legislatures have established wolf hunting quotas that ignore the recommendations of biologists and land managers.

The Idaho wolf hunt law passed despite the objections of the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

MYTH

On February 10, 2022, a Federal Judge restored federal protections to all wolves in the U.S.

FACT

Federal protections were restored to wolves in MUCH of the United States, but NOT to wolves Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming  –– where over 80% of the slaughter is taking place.

MYTH

Wolves are a foreign species to Idaho
(they’re from Canada).

FACT

The evidence shows that gray wolves once ranged from coast-to-coast and from Alaska to Mexico, and they were one of the most wide-ranging animals on the continent.

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