REGION If the federal government wants to reintroduce wolves in Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho, it should be prepared to pay for damage the wild animals might cause, the Idaho House says.
The House recently passed a message to Congress that the federal Wolf Management Committee should "address state concerns" before the program is launched. The measure now goes to the Senate.The message won't have to go far. The Wolf Management Committee Tuesday night opened three days of hearings in Boise on proposals to re-establish wolves in the park and a remote area of central Idaho.
Wolves are an endangered species, although some lawmakers argued Tuesday they shouldn't be. The wolf management panel has until May 15 to send Congress a draft plan on reintroduction.
It includes fish and game officials from Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, officials of federal agencies and representatives from sportsman, conservation and livestock groups.
After a comment session, members were to work on a rough draft of the final proposal. The Wolf Management Committee met last month at Cheyenne, Wyo., and plans an April meeting at Helena, Mont.
Part of the message approved by the House says introduction of wolves in Idaho "will have a serious negative impact on the economic and natural resource base of Idaho." It said the Legislature "strongly opposes" any wolf introduction plan.
Sponsor Rep. JoAn Wood, a Rigby rancher, said wolves could cause serious damage to livestock. "There will be some impact on our livestock around the boundary areas of those two areas. I think they (the committee) knows that," she said, noting that two workshops during the Boise meeting cover livestock depredation and the impact on wild game.