Feb. 22, 2016
Is it possible to mistake a wolf for an elk? Apparently so, if you work for Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game. State wildlife managers recently dropped into the Frank Church-River of No Return wilderness by helicopter — resulting in several legal challenges for using helicopters in a designated wilderness — in order to trap and then collar elk. Once there, they successfully collared 30 elk and 30 calves, but also did the job on four wolves as well — “by mistake,” reports the Missoulian. “The error was due to a breakdown in internal communications,” explained Fish and Game spokesman Mike Demmick. George Nickas, director of the Missoula-based Wilderness Watch, found this explanation difficult to swallow: “The fact they were collaring elk alone is bad enough. It’s not a secret that this is really all about wolves.” State officials say their only purpose was to learn more about declining elk populations in the Frank Church, where gray wolves were reintroduced in 1995.