A federal judge has ordered Idaho to destroy all information collected from collars placed on elk and wolves obtained illegally by landing a helicopter in a central Idaho wilderness area.
U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill in a ruling made public Thursday says it's such an extreme case that the only way to stop the ongoing harm is to order the destruction of data.
Winmill says the U.S. Forest Service in January 2016 broke environmental laws when it authorized Idaho Fish and Game to put collars on elk by making helicopter landings in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, where engines are prohibited.
The state agency collared about 60 elk, but it also put non-authorized collars on four wolves. The state agency blamed miscommunication with a helicopter crew.