Press Release

Mistake made during Idaho Fish and Game's elk-collaring project in wilderness

During the recent elk capture operation in the Frank Church/River of No Return Wilderness, an Idaho Fish and Game crew captured and placed tracking collars on four wolves. Fish and Game had told the Forest Service it would not collar wolves during the project. The wolves were released unharmed.

Fish and Game officials realize this mistake affects the agency's credibility and takes the matter seriously. The error was due to a breakdown in internal communications.

"As the deputy in charge of Fish and Game field operations, I accept full responsibility for this," Deputy Director Ed Schriever said. "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."

Fish and Game crews were capturing and placing radio collars on elk in the wilderness after coordinating with the Forest Service. The operation occurred between Jan 7-9. The operational agreement with the Forest Service did not include collaring of wolves.

All elk collaring activities were completed safely and in accordance with procedures for proper handling of animals and other terms of the operational agreement. Fish and Game achieved the objective of collaring 60 elk and the number of helicopter landings in the wilderness outside of designated airstrips remained within the terms of the operational agreement.

Fish and Game is collaring elk in different habitats across the state to collect needed monitoring data on elk movement and survival.