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Washington’s Wolves at Risk

By Rebecca Wolfe, Wolf Advisory Group, WA Dept. of Fish & Wildlife

The last two weeks of August were very tense for defenders of the Gray Wolf in Washington State.  After a sheep rancher, David Dashiell, put his 1800 head of sheep on Hancock Timber’s private land in known “wolf country,” several sheep (22 reported) were attacked and killed. At least 17 of those have been attributed to wolves. One female wolf has been shot by the WDFW and three more may be killed soon. The pack includes about 12 wolves.

Now the questions are many: Why would someone graze sheep in wolf country that is steep and difficult for herders to protect the sheep? Why would the rancher refuse to participate in a WSU research project designed to prevent depredations? Will the WDFW follow the guidelines passed in 2011, directing the Department to employ all possible and reasonable non-lethal measures before resorting to killing wolves?

The challenge for the coalition of conservation groups trying to help save the wolves, a WA State Endangered Species, is to help sort out the facts from misinformation and rumors. The WA State Chapter of the Sierra Club is a co-appellant in an appeal to codify the “Wolf Conservation & Management Plan” that was adopted in December of 2011. We are appealing to Gov. Inslee to step in and force the WDFW to follow the Plan, to stop shooting wolves, and to require the sheep producer to move his sheep to pastures where they can be protected -- out of known wolf territory. See more details at this website:

www.biologicaldiversity.org/news/press_releases/2014/wolf-08-28-2014.html

Please contact Rebecca Wolfe, Snohomish Group Conservation Chair, (rr.wolfe@comcast.net) and write to Gov. Inslee to add your voice to those seeking to protect this valuable ESA-listed species, the Northern Gray Wolf: governor@gov.wa.gov