- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game made an agreement with the United States Forest Service that IDFG crews would not collar wolves during a recent elk capture operation in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness. According to a Jan. 13 press release from Fish and Game, that's exactly what they did.
IDFG crews captured four wolves in the wilderness area and put tracking collars on them. The wolves were then released unharmed.
The press release stated officials realize the mistake affects the agency's credibility and blamed the mistake on a breakdown of internal communications.
"As the deputy in charge of Fish and Game field operations, I accept full responsibility for this," said Deputy Director Ed Schriever. "We made a mistake in not clearly communicating mission limitations to one of our helicopter crews. We will refine our procedures to make sure this doesn't happen again."
The elk capture involved placing radio collars on 60 elk in the wilderness area between Jan. 7-9. IDFG is collaring elk in different habitats across the state to collect data on the species' movement and survival. The press release assured the animals were handled properly and safely, and the helicopter landings that took place from designated airstrips in the wilderness were within the agreement between IDFG and the Forest Service.