Idaho conservationists are offering a different kind of bounty for wolves than the one that decimated the species in the West.
Several groups are offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the documentation of Rocky Mountain wolf "pack activity" in central Idaho, officials announced.Suzanne Morris, executive director of the Wolf Recovery Foundation, which advocates the reintroduction of wolves in central Idaho, has developed the fund in partnership with the Idaho Conservation League and Sierra Club.
"We're trying to do something constructive," she said. "Research indicates that Idaho has wolves, but there's no documented evidence."
Some 600 individual wolf sightings have been reported to federal authorities over the past decade, and some 200 of them were probable, Morris said.
"We get really great reports all the time. The evidence is coming in from everywhere. But unfortunately the reports often come in two or three weeks late."
She said people who see wolves or pack activity - several wolves together or a wolf den - should report the information immediately.
A special hotline has been established for recording wolf sightings. The number is 1-800-635-7820.
The Boise, Payette, Clearwater, Nez Perce and Bitterroot national forests in Idaho all have special teams responsible for tracking or howling for wolves, Morris said.
"The hotline will expedite reports so biologists can be on the ground looking for wolves in 24 to 48 hours," she said.
Wolf howls were returned last summer near Red River and Bear Valley, she said. And recent tracks have been found on Hoodoo Pass, near the Montana-Idaho border south of Missoula, Mont.