A number of environmental advocacy groups asked a federal judge on Monday to stop an upcoming wolf and coyote derby scheduled for December 28-29, 2013.
We first reported on the wolf and coyote derby earlier this week. Hunters will compete in the derby for cash prizes of up to $2,000.
The derby’s organizers say the event’s intention is two-fold: To bring attention to the threat of tapeworm infections transmitted by wolves and to boost the local economy.
The opposing groups filed a complaint in the US District Court in Pocatello, Idaho, and are asking the judge to issue a restraining order to stop the event. They’re claiming that the event is illegal and harmful to the environment.
They say that the U.S. Forest Service ignored its own protocol by not requiring the derby’s organizers to obtain a special-use commercial permit for the event, and that the Forest Service is failing to consider the environmental costs of the event.
The wolf and coyote derby is likely to go on unhindered. The U.S. Forest Service has already determined the event did not require a special use permit.
But, the Bureau of Land Management sees the situation differently.
The Desert News reported that the Bureau of Land Management, which controls sections of land around Salmon, Idaho, has determined that a special permit is required for the event, and that derby participants are not allowed to hunt on BLM land.
More than 300 hunters are expected to participate in the wolf and coyote derby, including children. Organizers have decided to no longer require a $20 entry fee, and are instead asking for donations from the hunters involved in the event.
“The motels are booked,” Steve Alder, president of Idaho for Wildlife, told the Desert News. “I think it’s going to be big.”
Wolf and coyote hunting is legal in Idaho. Wolves were taken off the state’s endangered species list in 2011. Coyote derbies are common in the region, but wolf derbies are not.
The issue of the tapeworm transmission from wolves to humans remains sketchy. State health officials reportedly told the Associated Press that there is no evidence of wolf-human transmissions of tapeworms in the area.
What do you think about the event? Let us know in the comments section below.