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Wolf bill weakens plan

Posted by Barbara Christensen at Mar 21, 2013 12:36 AM |

This month, Washington State legislators are considering several bills regarding wolf recovery in Washington. On Wednesday, Jasmine Minbashian testified before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee against a bill that would drop the permit requirements for killing a wolf "caught in the act." Click through for her testimony, King 5 coverage, and a take action link.

Wolf bill weakens plan

A bill in the house would weaken the state wolf plan by allowing people to kill wolves "caught in the act" without a permit. The plan currently allows livestock owners to protect their livestock adequately. Photo: Flickr user mikec_905

This month, Washington State legislators are considering several bills regarding wolf recovery in Washington. On Wednesday, Jasmine Minbashian testified before the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee regarding a bill that would drop the permit requirements for killing a wolf "caught in the act." Below is her testimony.

King 5 covered the hearing, including an interview with Jasmine and the testimony of a dog owner who left a dog outside overnight that got a fight with a wolf. The full hearing was also recorded on TVW.

Take action: You can help halt this bill's momentum by asking your Washington legislator to uphold the state's wolf plan.

Jasmine's testimony:

I work with Conservation Northwest and have been very engaged in wolf recovery and management in Washington State.  I was a participant in the working group that developed the wolf conservation and management plan. I am a wildlife conservationist but I also own horses and own property in wolf territory ,so I can relate to the concerns of livestock and pet owners.

To make wolf recovery work in the state, we are committed to assisting those who may be impacted by the return of the wolf.  Conservation Northwest has invested over $50,000 of our own money and staff time in the last year assisting ranchers who are living and ranching in wolf country. This effort has primarily funded a pilot range rider program that has shown great promise and delivered success.  And we plan to increase that investment this year. 

But we can’t succeed alone. WDFW needs resources to successfully implement the conservation and management plan which includes many great tools for reducing conflict.  We need creative ideas such a special license plate fees, as directed in SB 5193, if we are to succeed.

Conservation Northwest is, however opposed to SB 5187. We believe it undermines the balance of the conservation and management plan.  People already have the ability under the plan to kill wolves caught in the act of attacking livestock. By asking landowners to acquire a permit before using lethal control as a strategy, the plan ensures that there is good communication with the state and more effective strategies are in place before resorting to lethal means. This is very important in the more sensitive phases of recovery, like we are in now, especially in the Cascades where we only have one confirmed breeding pair, and only 10-15 wolves in the entire mountain range.

But SB 5187 removes this accountability and puts at risk the viability of the wolf recovery and management plan, not to mention wolf recovery itself. While people do have the right to protect their property, they also have responsibility to take steps to reduce the risk of conflict and not attract wolves to their property through unintentional baiting. The state is investing heavily in assisting livestock owners with these steps and they are working well. There will be a time to broaden these rules, but we are not there yet.

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