Lawmakers in Idaho have approved a bill to eradicate as much as 90 percent of the state’s wolf population. The bill, which was pushed forward by farmers and cattle ranchers, will become law once signed by Governor Brad Little in the upcoming days. The bill made its way through the Idaho House of Representatives with an overwhelming majority of a 58 to 11 vote of approval.
The drastic measure is due to wolves killing or scarring cattle animals, damaging the state’s agricultural sector. “They’re destroying ranchers; they’re destroying wildlife,” Idaho Senator Mark Harris commented, reported The New York Times.
In 2002, a Wolf Conservation program was established in Idaho which aimed to preserve the wolf population. Harris commented that the number of wolves in the state has ballooned, becoming a problem for ranchers.
Once an endangered species, gray wolves lost their protected status last year. Local and national wildlife conservation groups are appealing to the governor to reconsider and veto the bill.
“The bill will waste millions of dollars of public funds on killing wolves, and threatens to ultimately return the species to the endangered species list and federal management,” the Western Watershed Project said in a statement, reported Reuters.