Idaho fighting order to destroy wilderness wolf, elk data

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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.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game on Tuesday requested a stay of the judgment in U.S. District Court in Idaho pending an appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Judge B. Lynn Winmill in January ruled the U.S. Forest Service in January 2016 broke environmental laws by authorizing Idaho Fish and Game to put collars on 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 the helicopter crew.