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For Cascades wolves, it's premature to remove protections

Jun 13, 2013

Conservation Northwest urges continued protection for Washington's Cascades wolves and their recognition as a distinct population. This approach would allow all the aspects of the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan to be fully implemented, while allowing for higher federal poaching fines and greater accountability to recovery goals.

For Cascades wolves, it's premature to remove protections

One of the Wenatchee Pack's two known members. The recovery status of Cascades packs is still fragile. Photo © Craig Monette

Conservation Northwest has called on the US Fish and Wildlife Service to recognize Washington's Cascades wolves as a distinct population and continue to offer them protection as a threatened species.

This approach would allow all the aspects of the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan to be fully implemented, while allowing for higher federal poaching fines and greater accountability to recovery goals.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service plans to remove Endangered Species Act protection for gray wolves within the year, a blow to Washington's recovering wolves. Conservation Northwest supports protecting wolves under the Endangered Species Act in the coterminous US until they have fully recovered - especially vulnerable packs such as those returning to Washington’s Cascade Mountains.

Read our press release
“The decision to remove federal protections for Pacific Northwest wolves is premature,” said Dave Werntz, conservation and science director for Conservation Northwest. “With less than twenty wolves in the Cascade Range, recovery of this unique population remains uncertain.”

Wolves west of the Rockies are relatively scarce and at a fragile stage. Conservation Northwest believes that loss of protection puts packs like the Teanaway and Wenatchee packs that are critical to establishing a viable population in the Cascades and Coast. 

In 2008, the Lookout Pack was nearly wiped out due to illegal poaching. The wolves' story was chronicled in a feature documentary produced by the BBC and the Discovery Channel featuring Conservation Northwest's Jasmine Minbashian as a field team leader.

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