Environmental groups Monday asked a federal judge to halt a planned wolf and coyote derby in Idaho, calling the event an illegal killing contest.
The complaint by Wild Earth Guardians and other environmental groups in U.S. District Court in Pocatello contends the U.S. Forest Service ignored federal laws by allowing the derby to proceed this Saturday and Sunday without requiring organizers to first secure a special-use permit for a commercial event.
A pro-hunting group behind the derby, Idaho for Wildlife, aims to lure up to 300 adults and children to Salmon to boost the economy — and raise awareness for health concerns it says are related to wolves.
The environmentalists say the Forest Service failed to follow its own procedures and violated the National Environmental Policy Act by "failing entirely to consider the environmental impacts of allowing the killing contest."
They're asking a judge to halt the event by issuing a temporary restraining order.
Wolves are game animals in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming after federal Endangered Species Act protections were lifted starting in 2011. There are annual hunting and trapping seasons.
Idaho has about 680 wolves, according to 2012 estimates, following their reintroduction to the state starting in 1995 after they were nearly wiped out in the 1970s.
Coyote derbies aren't uncommon around the West, but including wolves in a contest offering up to $2,000 in cash prizes and trophies has sparked an outcry among environmental groups. Joining Wild Earth Guardians in the lawsuit were Project Coyote, the Western Watersheds Project, the Boulder-White Clouds Council and the Animal Welfare Institute.
In mid-December, Idaho for Wildlife approached the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management about the event. More....