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Conservationists Sue to Stop Wolf and Coyote Killing Contest

November 13, 2014
Bethany Cotton (503) 327-4923
In This Release

Thursday, November 13, 2014
Conservationists Sue to Stop Wolf and Coyote Killing Contest

Groups Challenge Fed’s Decision to Allow Highly Controversial ‘Predator Derby’
Contact: Bethany Cotton (503) 327-4923

Additional Contacts:

SarahMcMillan, WildEarth Guardians, 406.549.3895, smcmillan@wildearthguardians.org
LauraKing, Western Environmental Law Center, 406-204-4852
Lynne Stone, Boulder-White Clouds Council, 208.721.7301,bwcc@wildwhiteclouds.org
NickCady, Cascadia Wildlands, 541.434.1463

SALMON,Idaho – Today, a coalition of conservation organizations sued theBureau of Land Management for granting a 5-year permit allowingpredator-killing contests on public lands surrounding Salmon, Idaho over thewinter holiday season. The agency unlawfully relied on faulty analysis and failedto conduct a full environmental impact statement. The suit also names the U.S. ForestService for failing to require a permit for the killing contests. The nextcompetitive killing derby is slated for January 2-4, 2015.

“Killingcontests that perpetuate false stereotypes about key species like wolves andcoyotes, who play essential roles in healthy, vibrant ecosystems, have no placeon our public lands,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlife program director atWildEarth Guardians. “The Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service are abdicatingtheir responsibilities as stewards of our public lands.”

Anapplication for a BLM special recreation permit triggers the NationalEnvironmental Policy Act, which prohibits fast track permitting of highlycontroversial activities, such as this. During the NEPA process, BLM receivedover 100,000 comments expressing opposition to the event. In its analysis, BLMfailed to adequately consider the risk to public safety posed by the killingcontest, the impacts to local and regional carnivore populations, displacementof other users of public lands, less destructive alternatives to the killingcontest, and other factors. Wolves are a BLM ‘sensitive species’ and aresupposed to be protected by the agency.

“The agencies aredetermined to stay on the sidelines ofthis killing contest,” said Laura King, an attorney from Western EnvironmentalLaw Center, who is representing the plaintiffs. “But federal law requires theagencies to engage—fully and in good faith—in evaluating the consequences ofthe contest on wolves, coyotes, andecosystems.”

Lynne Stone,director of the Boulder-White Clouds Council, who has lived and worked incentral Idaho for over three decades, said, “killing contests like this have noplace in a civilized society and are an embarrassment to our state. Shame onthe agencies for allowing these events on our public lands.”

Science shows that wolvesplay a key role as apex carnivores, providing ecological benefits that cascadethrough ecosystems. Wolves bring elk and deer populations into balance, whichallows streamside vegetation to recover, in turn creating habitat for songbirdsand beavers and shade for fish. Coyotes, like wolves, serve a valuableecological function by helping to control rodent populations and to maintainecological integrity and species diversity. Unlike wolves, coyotes quicklyrebound when they are killed indiscriminately, meaning killing contestsactually undermine the sponsor’s stated goal of reducing coyote populations.

“There is simply no ecological or scientificreason justification for these killing derbies,” said Nick Cady, legal directorof Cascadia Wildlands. “These federal agencies are abusing public lands andwildlife to help finance an extremist, anti-wolf organization in Idaho.”

Since 2011, when Congress stripped Endangered Species Actprotections from gray wolves in Idaho, the state has allowed nearly half ofIdaho’s wolf population to be hunted and trapped each year. Since 2011, over 1,200wolves have died at the hands of hunters and trappers in Idaho.

See,BLM Decision Record andBLM Finding of NoSignificant Impact.

Other Contact
Sarah McMillan, WildEarth Guardians, 406.549.3895, smcmillan@wildearthguardians.org Laura King, Western Environmental Law Center, 406-204-4852 Lynne Stone, Boulder-White Clouds Council, 208.721.7301, bwcc@wildwhiteclouds.org Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, 541.434.1463
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