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WA: Wolf Fans, Foes Sound Off Over Wash. Wolf Plan

Tom Banse

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Passions continue to run high in Washington about the state’s growing wolf population. In Olympia Thursday, Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife held what it counts as its 22nd public meeting about wolf management. There was still a capacity crowd in the large meeting hall from morning until evening.

Educator and parent Heather Hilf-Barr testified she wants the predator on the landscape.

“I’m deeply concerned about the heritage that we are leaving our children,” she said. “An important part of our heritage in Washington State is the beauty and far reaching effect of having the wolf on our landscape.”

Unhappy hunters and ranchers also came forward to say they feel like they’re getting “thrown under the bus” right now. Cattlemen’s Association director Jack Field asked for more effort on controlling problem wolves.

“At this point I think the Washington Cattlemen’s Association is willing to consider a plan with no compensation if we have a strong, clear management component, something that is absolutely lacking in the current plan before us,” he said.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to adopt some kind of wolf plan this December. But during this long meeting there were repeated suggestions that the controversial plan be delayed.

Wildlife biologists have confirmed five wolf packs in Washington state, numbering about 30 animals. They are scattered amongst the Washington Cascades and in the northeastern and southeast corners of the state.

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