Idaho Fish and Game collared four wolves in the Frank Church Wilderness earlier this month. The action was unauthorized by the Forest Service, the agency that oversees the area.
Mike Keckler with Fish and Game says the issue comes down to a communication problem. One of the crews assigned to put tracking collars on elk in the wilderness area also collared four wolves. Keckler says they do that under normal operations, but in this case the agency had a specific agreement with the Forest Service to only collar elk.
“This was a mistake, this was not intentional," says Keckler. "And we know this affects the agency’s credibility and we take this very seriously. And we're going to refine our procedures to make sure nothing like this happens again.”
Keckler says the four wolves were released without injury back into the wilderness area.
In a press release, the environmental group Earthjustice called into question the agency’s motives. The group thinks the new wolf collars will be used by Fish and Game to trap and kill wolves. A Forest Service official says in a statement that the department is looking into what happened, and is taking the matter “very seriously.”
Follow reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill
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