Gov. Jay Inslee sent a letter to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife today asking for changes to the gray wolf recovery program. The governor asked WDFW to provide him with an update to his requests and recommendations for additional action by December 1.
The letter reads, in part, “I understand that conflicts between wolves and livestock do occur, especially as the state’s wolf population continues to grow. The department, working with the Wolf Advisory Group, livestock producers, hunters, conservation groups and others, has made significant progress in securing both gray wolf recovery and increasing the social tolerance of wolves on the Washington state landscape. The State’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan (Wolf Plan) has contributed to the recovery of this species, and is a model of citizenry engagement and statewide leadership. I acknowledge that the Wolf Plan is successful in most parts of our state…Chronic livestock depredations and annual lethal removal of wolves in the Kettle River Range in Ferry County, have resulted in public concern and outrage over lethal management actions taken by the department.
“I share the public’s concern and am troubled that the Wolf Plan does not appear to be working as intended in this particular area in Northeastern Washington. I believe we cannot continue using the same management approach on this particular landscape. We must look for other strategies that address the unique nature of this particular geographical area, an area which has been characterized as prime gray wolf habitat. We must find new methods to better support co-existence between Washington’s livestock industry and gray wolves in our state. The status quo of annual lethal removal is simply unacceptable.”
Read the full letter here.