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WA: Comment period on federal wolf delisting closes Monday

By Eli Francovich

The Spokesman-Review

The public comment period on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife proposal to delist gray wolves will close, Monday.

The comment period was supposed to close in May, however the service extended it to “allow all interested parties additional time to comment on the proposed rule.”

To submit a comment visit

In April, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife director Kelly Susewind supported the federal delisting in a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He pointed to the fact that in Washington the wolf population has continued to grow.

Currently, wolves are federally delisted in the eastern third of the state but remain federally listed in the western two-thirds. A national delisting would give WDFW sole management of all of Washington’s wolves.

“As wolves reoccupy those areas, I think we’re in a better position to manage (them),” Susewind said in an interview Monday. “I think we want to make sure that we use these laws, these are powerful laws, we want to use them appropriately.”

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for Washington Gov. Jay Inslee told the Courthouse News Service that “Governor Inslee does not support a nationwide proposal that delists gray wolves from the federal endangered species list in all of the lower 48 states because there are many areas where wolves have not yet been recovered.”

However, in a followup email Jaime Smith, a spokesperson for Inslee, wrote that Inslee “feels confident about Washington state’s ability to continue its conservation and management efforts.”

On Wednesday, Susewind authorized the lethal removal of members of the Old Profanity Territory pack after repeated cattle attacks.