BOISE, Idaho — Idaho officials are challenging a federal court order to destroy information collected from tracking collars placed on elk and wolves obtained illegally by landing a helicopter in a central Idaho wilderness area.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore on Tuesday requested a stay of the judgment in U.S. District Court in Idaho pending the agency’s appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled in January the U.S. Forest Service broke environmental laws nearly two years ago by authorizing Idaho Fish and Game to put collars on about 60 elk by landing helicopters in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, where engines are prohibited.
Idaho also collared four wolves in an action the Forest Service didn’t authorize. Fish and Game blamed miscommunication with a helicopter crew.
Winmill wrote that it was such an extreme case “the only remedy that will directly address the ongoing harm is an order requiring destruction of the data.”
Specifically, Fish and Game is seeking to stay the court’s order to destroy data and to stay the court’s prohibiting the agency as well as the Forest Service from using that data.
The Idaho Department of Fish and Game “agrees that as a condition of such stay, IDFG would not use any live radio collar placed during the January 2016 helicopter project in the Frank Church Wilderness to locate wolves for lethal removal,” the document states.