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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Conservation Northwest on lethal removal of Wedge Pack wolf

Mitch Friedman, executive director of Conservation Northwest, said, “The killing of problem wolves will be part of life in Washington from here out. But it’s unclear in this case whether the right livestock stewardship steps have first been tried to reduce conflict potential. If we expect wolves to behave, ranchers need to meet them half way.”

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Aug 07, 2012

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced that its agents killed a female wolf from the Wedge Wolf Pack, located near the Canadian border in Stevens County.  This decision follows weeks of conflict, including several cattle injured and one killed by apparent wolf attack, and agency efforts to haze wolves.  It is not known whether this individual wolf was directly involved in any depredation of cattle, but members of the Wedge Pack are suspected to be responsible for the attacks.

Conservation Northwest understands that some wolves learn to prey on livestock, and that these problem wolves must be eliminated. The steps for these actions are clearly identified in the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which was adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in 2011 with broad support of the public and Conservation Northwest.

Nevertheless, the removal of wolves is not trivial. Wolves are a social animal which have great ecological importance, and the reaction of a pack to removal of individuals can be complex and not entirely desirable. Removal should be done only when other steps have been tried and when the state is confident that removal will solve the predation problem. 

In this instance, Conservation Northwest questions whether the rancher has made a good faith effort to reduce the risk of conflict between wolves and his livestock, which are grazing on national forest. We are concerned that in the absence of practical stewardship improvements, conflict and depredations will continue indefinitely.

Mitch Friedman, executive director of Conservation Northwest, said, “The killing of problem wolves will be part of life in Washington from here out. But it’s unclear in this case whether the right livestock stewardship steps have first been tried to reduce conflict potential. If we expect wolves to behave, ranchers need to meet them half way.”

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