Earthjustice took its ongoing fight to stop the killing of two wolf packs in central Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals today. Earthjustice filed an emergency motion asking the Ninth Circuit to preserve the wolves and their vital contribution to the wilderness character of the largest forested wilderness in the lower-48 states.
A federal district court judge in Idaho rejected our request for an injunction to stop the program last Friday and we immediately initiated an appeal to the Ninth Circuit. The most recent available information indicates that a hunter-trapper hired by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game has already killed nine wolves from the Golden Creek and Monumental Creek packs. Earthjustice is asking for a court injunction to stop the program before the remaining wolves in these two packs are killed.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game claims that the program is needed to inflate elk populations for the benefit of commercial outfitters and recreational hunters. But federal law requires a wilderness area to be managed as a place where wild processes, including predator-prey interactions, occur without man’s interference.
Unfortunately, the U.S. Forest Service, which manages the Frank Church Wilderness on behalf of the American people, has not lived up to its responsibility to enforce this legal mandate for wilderness protection in this case. Fortunately, the citizens of this country have a right to ask the federal courts to hold government officers accountable for complying with the law. That is what Earthjustice is doing right now before the Ninth Circuit.
Earthjustice is representing long-time Idaho conservation advocate Ralph Maughan in the case, along with Defenders of Wildlife, Western Watersheds Project, Wilderness Watch, and the Center for Biological Diversity.