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Strong Evidence of Wolves Near Boise, Idaho

January 14, 2000, additions Jan. 18

There is a strong possibility that wolves have migrated from central Idaho to the outskirts of the capital city of Idaho -- Boise. Roy Heberger, assistant field supervisor of the Service's Snake River Basin Office issued a news release today saying that his office has received several unconfirmed sightings just outside the city limits north of Boise, east of Boise and also south of the SW Idaho town of Horseshoe Bend.

"The peak of wolf dispersal in the central Idaho and Yellowstone Recovery Areas is midwinter. Given that we have received wolf sighting reports this year where none existed before, we believe that it is likely that wolves are in the area," Heberger stated.

An article in the Idaho Statesman today said that two biologists had watched what they believed were wolves chasing two deer on Bogus Basin road eight miles north of Boise.  Boise is at the base of the Boise Mountains, and Bogus Basin is directly above the city.

Earlier that week, the last week of 1999, a man, who was described as "having worked with wolves in Wisconsin" reported seeing a wolf down, out of the mountains at the intersection of Warm Springs Avenue and Eckert Road. This may sound like it is right in Boise, but it is in the foothills to the northeast. 

Closer to town was a report of a wolf near Barber Flats.  This is near where a riparian corridor along the Boise River follows the Boise River out of the mountains.

The Statesman also said a family reported to wolves at Horseshoe Bend Summit on Idaho Highway 55 on Jan. 3. This is about 20 miles northwest by west of Boise in a low mountain area.  All of these areas have numerous wintering elk and deer as potential wolf prey. 

There have also been reports of wolves on the Snake River Plain "from Hagerman to Mountain Home, Swan Falls and Kuna," Heberger said.  

This is getting quite a way from any backcountry, indeed almost to backcountry on the southern side of the vast Snake River Plain, and I would judge these less likely.  At any rate, this is truly an exciting development for folks, especially given the optimism generated by the Tenth Circuit Court Decision upholding the legality of the wolf program.

There have been some reports that the Farm Bureau may appeal to the Supreme Court. However, I doubt this would be successful.  The Supreme Court is under no obligation to hear any given appeal.  Furthermore, this case is, in terms of legal arguments, not very interesting.  It is over technicalities in the interpretation of the meaning of a section of the Endangered Species Act.  The dispersal of wolves about Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming also makes a judicial remedy difficult.  These facts indicate to me from experience that the Supreme Court would refuse to hear a Farm Bureau appeal.

Biologists say wolves sighted in Boise area.

Meeting Jan. 19 in Boise on Wolves-

Defenders of Wildlife and the Wolf Recovery Foundation will host a public information meeting about wolves in the Boise area Wednesday, January 19th 7 - 9 PM, Ponderosa Room, US Federal Building, 1387 Vinnell Way (off Overland between I 84 and Milwaukee just across the parking lot west of WalMart). 

Curt Mack, Idaho Wolf Project Leader, Nez Perce tribe, Roy Heberger, Idaho Wolf Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Suzanne Laverty, Defenders of Wildlife,  will present  information about the status of wolves in Idaho (including the Boise area), and the future of the wolf reintroduction project. Please plan to attend if you'd like to learn more about this issue. Call Sue Laverty  if you need more information. 

Idaho Public TV is hosting a wolf program Thursday, January 20th at 8:30 PM. Please call 1-800-973-9800 at 8:30 Thursday and relay your support for the wolves to a statewide audience. 

Guests on the program are Idaho Senator Laird Noh, Roy Heberger, Idaho Wolf Coordinator, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Jaime Pinkham, Natural Resource Council, Nez Perce tribe. 

 Suzanne Laverty (208) 672-1732 Southern Rockies Representative Defenders of Wildlife 

PMB 217 3355 N. Five Mile Rd. Boise, ID 83713-3925 

Fax: 1 (888) 754-5903 




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  Copyright 2000 Ralph Maughan

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Ralph Maughan PO Box 8264, Pocatello, ID 83209