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The Daily Howler, 9-25-2012 Edition

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By Andy Walgamott
Northwest Sportsman

Conservation Northwest, among the lead wolf advocacy groups in Washington, is trying to explain to its supporters why it believes the pack needs to be taken out, "among the toughest calls" they've had to make, while insisting that steps be taken so we don't end up with the same problem with Wedge Pack 2.o.

1) No news so far from WDFW's enhanced hunt for an entire pack of wolves in northern Stevens County, but the topic is sure generating a lot of comments online here and elsewhere.

In the four days since the agency announced it was taking out the at-least eight members of the Wedge Pack for repeated, intensifying livestock depredations this summer, the story has made many local papers, and TV and radio stations as well as MSN.com and the Globe & Mail in Toronto, all accompanied by voluminous comment.

MSN's piece is up to 1,300 while WDFW's twin posts on Facebook last Friday afternoon have drawn over 440.

How does that compare to previous posts? The agency drew 369 when it announced a suspension of August's hunt (for Labor Day), 372 explaining its original plans to take out four members, and 279 when it killed a single nonbreeding female in early August.

1a) Late afternoon update: WDFW reports that one of their marksmen killed two wolves of the Wedge Pack from a helicopter early this afternoon. More here.

2) A poll with MSN's story is running 27 percent in favor of killing the pack because "at this point it's the only way to build a sustainable gray wolf population in Washington state" while 73 percent say "No, ranchers should be required to take more steps to protect their livestock."

3) Conservation Northwest, among the lead wolf advocacy groups in Washington, is trying to explain to its supporters why it believes the pack needs to be taken out, "among the toughest calls" they've had to make, while insisting that steps be taken so we don't end up with the same problem with Wedge Pack 2.o.

4) The Stevens County Cattlemen continue to urge for the immediate delisting of wolves in Northeast Washington, and are taking a page from wolf groups' playbook and running a form-letter campaign to get the Fish & Wildlife Commission to take up the issue.

5) Wolves are indeed on the commission's next meeting agenda. The citizen oversight panel is scheduled to spend four hours on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 5, getting "a comprehensive briefing on the implementation of the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan for 2012" from high-ranking wolf managers.

6) Calls again by Howling For Justice for the state to stop the wolf hunt have yet to lead to a cease fire.

7) So far, no sign of a lawsuit either.

8] The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service will not finalize their status review on wolves in the Pacific Northwest sometime this week, as was reported earlier this summer.

Spokeswoman Joan Jewett in Portland says the goal is to get the document done by the end of 2012.

"Even if a status review determined there was a unique population, that doesn't mean we'd propose to list them," she adds.

9) And finally we're trying to move pieces like this one down our home page, to below Headlines and Reader Trophy Tales to the new Wolf News category.

Not that wolfy bits are suddenly any less important -- they are, we'll keep posting bigger news to Editor's Blog -- but it allows us to post all the Northwest wolf coverage in one location.

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