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Washington's wolves get a plan

Dec 05, 2011

Dec 3 - Spurred along by the natural local return of wolves, years of science-based collaborative work, and support from thousands of residents, the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission votes to approve a wolf recovery plan.

Washington's wolves get a plan

Washington state just became a national leader for managing the return of wolves to the West. Photo © David Moskowitz

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission has unanimously approved a conservation and management plan for wolves. That's tremendous news for Washington's gray wolves on the edge of recovery and offers ample options for livestock owners and hunters who may be affected by the return of wolves.

Recent wolf press and news is available here.
"Finding the middle ground on what is a polarizing issue – I'd call it a big success." – Jasmine Minbashian, Conservation Northwest

The wolf plan was crafted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) starting in 2007 with the help of a 17-member public stakeholder advisory group and supported by tens of thousands of people in Washington. Since then, it has been intensely scrutinized, surviving both scientific scrutiny and the social gauntlet.

"There is clearly a lot of support for a balanced wolf recovery plan in Washington, despite opposition from a minority," says Jasmine Minbashian, who directs Conservation Northwest's wolf program. "A majority of the wolf working group supported it – including other livestock groups and some hunters. Finding the middle ground on what is a polarizing issue – I'd call it a big success."

Thanks to your support for Washington's wolves. See what we (and you!) do for wolves - and read a quick take on the wolf plan

The final Washington wolf plan presents a science-based approach that balances the legal and biological requirements of a recovery plan with needed on-the-ground management tools and a fair compensation package for the small number of livestock producers who may face impacts.

Derrick Knowles, an avid hunter who works for Conservation Northwest, participated as a member of the advisory Wolf Working Group. "Throughout the process I worked closely with hunters, cattlemen, scientists, and other conservationists and my experience as a working group member convinced me that we can work through most concerns and differences, and be better off for it," Knowles said.

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