By Lynda V. Mapes, The Seattle Times
SEATTLE — They are divided over a strategy to recover wolves in Washington. But 14 conservation groups joined together Friday to send a letter to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, protesting secrecy in its management of wolves.
The letter, signed by wildlife conservation groups across Washington, was issued after the department released a five-word account of its ongoing kill operation of the Smackout Pack in northeastern Washington, to protect ranchers’ cattle.
The recent report, followed with a similar report last week, revealed only that two wolves so far have been killed, omitting any details of the operation.
That followed a July 14 report that belatedly revealed four wolves had died in Washington over the past year, including two under circumstances still being investigated. That was at least six weeks and in some instances months after the department had the information.
The letter was sent to Donny Martorello, wolf-policy lead for the department. Last week he told The Seattle Times the department was withholding information on its operations on the Smackout pack until a final report at an unspecified time.