Last year wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains were protected under the Endangered Species Act, but then an unprecedented congressional rider stripped that protection away. This followed promises from the states that wolves would be conserved as a game species like any other.
Instead, as you can see from this photo, by allowing shooting, trapping and snaring Idaho has opened a Pandora's box of wolf scapegoating.
It's no secret that livestock and hunting-outfitter interests are determined to drastically reduce wolf numbers in the northern Rockies. They're feeding an anti-wolf fervor under the banner of protecting elk and livestock, and the shocking cruelty apparent in this photo is a product of that hysteria.
Please sign our petition to help us expose and combat this official sanction of wolf persecution.
Investigate Blatant Cruelty to Wolves
To Director Virgil Moore:
We the undersigned request that you investigate whether the trapping and treatment of the wolf in this photograph on the weekend of March 16-18 violates Title 25, Chapter 35 of Idaho's animal-cruelty laws.
Setting a wolf trap near a public road resulted in a crowd forming around the trapped animal and people shooting the wolf before the trapper, Josh Bransford, arrived, posed for this picture and killed the wolf.
The statute's requirement for "humane destruction of animals for population control" (the purported reason for wolf trapping) was not followed here. We request that you investigate these matters and, if the law was broken, prosecute Mr. Bransford and the undisclosed shooters.
[Your Name Here]
To Chief Tom Tidwell:
We the undersigned call your attention to Nez Perce National Forest employee Josh Bransford, who trapped a wolf by a road in Idaho, leading it to be shot by passersby before Mr. Bransford posed for a photograph and killed the tortured animal.
In rural Idaho such mistreatment of wolves is impossible to prevent; but Mr. Bransford placed the trap in a public place, then posted the attached photo online, remarking that "several guys had stopped and taken a shot at him already."
Mr. Bransford's actions, directly or through negligence, appear to violate Idaho's statutory prohibition on animal cruelty.
The Forest Service icon Smokey the Bear was an orphaned cub rescued after a fire in the Lincoln National Forest. This disturbing image of Bransford beaming in front of a tortured wolf sends a shockingly different message about Forest Service values.
Please open an investigation into whether Bransford's behavior brought discredit to the Service, and, if so, take appropriate disciplinary measures.