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BLM Says No to Killing Contest on BLM Lands

November 25, 2014
Drew Kerr (312) 375-6104
In This Release

Tuesday, November 25, 2014
BLM Says No to Killing Contest on BLM Lands

Conservationists celebrate win just 12 days after filing lawsuit to stop the wolf-hunting contest on public lands
Contact: Drew Kerr (312) 375-6104

Additional Contacts:

LauraKing, Western Environmental Law Center, (406) 204-4852
Bob Ferris, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 434-1463
Lynne Stone, Boulder-White Clouds Council, (208) 721-7301

SALMON, IDAHO—Conservationists are celebrating the news fromthe Salmon, Idaho U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office announcing theagency is withdrawing the 5-year permit it issued for a cruel killing conteston some of the wildest and most scenic BLM-managed public lands in the country.The move comes only twelve days after WildEarth Guardians, Cascadia Wildlands,and Boulder-White Clouds Council, represented by the Western Environmental LawCenter, filed a lawsuitto stop the “Predator Derby” killing contest on BLM and U.S. ForestService-managed lands.

“We’re pleased the BLM heeded our warning andrecognized its permit allowing this killing contest to proceed was fatallyflawed,” said Drew Kerr, carnivore advocate with WildEarth Guardians.”Sadly, the U.S. Forest Service has not gotten the message, so we stillhave a fight on our hands to kick these horrifically cruel events off ourpublic lands.”

BLM’s change of heart comes after conservationists filed a lawsuiton November 13, 2014, in federal court challenging the agency’s issuance of aspecial 5-year permit allowing the event to take place. The lawsuit argued thatthe agency unlawfully relied on faulty analysis and failed to develop a fullenvironmental impact statement.

“Closing public lands to this killing contest is the rightthing—legally, ethically, and scientifically,” said Laura King of WesternEnvironmental Law Center. “We applaud the BLM for this decision that putswildlife and the public interest first.”

BLM staff anticipated as many as 500 participants woulddescend on public and private lands in eastern Idaho, trying to kill as manywolves, coyotes, and other animals as they could during a three-day period thiswinter holiday season. Last year, organizers offered prizes for the mostcoyotes killed and the largest wolf killed.

“Whilethere is cause to celebrate this victory, we still must deal with the U.S.Forest Service lands,” said Bob Ferris, executive director of CascadiaWildlands. “That will take time, but we are happy to play the role of theproverbial tortoise if that is what it takes to walk away with a completevictory.”

Conservationists filed two separate lawsuits challenging theBLM permit; however, only the lawsuit brought by Western Environmental LawCenter included a claim against the U.S. Forest Service for failing to require apermit or analyze the killing contest’s impacts. This lawsuit willcontinue in the wake of BLM’s welcome reversal, and will seek to compel theForest Service to similarly block participants from competing to win prizes forwasting wildlife on our public lands.

“While it’s good to see BLM withdraw their permit, overallthis killing contest remains a black eye for Idaho,” said Lynne Stone, directorof Boulder-White Clouds Council and long-time Idahoan. “The Salmon-ChallisNational Forest should not be a part of this cruel event either. These are ourpublic lands and we should share them together peacefully and respectfully withwildlife.”

Other Contact
Laura King, Western Environmental Law Center, (406) 204-4852 Bob Ferris, Cascadia Wildlands, (541) 434-1463 Lynne Stone, Boulder-White Clouds Council, (208) 721-7301
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