Defenders objects to Washington state policy making it easier to kill wolves
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 3, 2014
Melanie Gade, Defenders of Wildlife; Mgade@defenders.org ; (202) 772-0288
Suzanne Stone, Defenders of Wildlife; firstname.lastname@example.org ; (208) 861-4655
SEATTLE – Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) recently released a new wolf management protocol that will remove important safeguards for recovering wolf packs in the state. The new protocol dramatically lowers the bar for killing wolves in response to livestock depredation and would allow state and federal officials to kill an entire pack of wolves for only two conflict incidents with livestock - one of which could be just a minor injury – over the course of an entire year. Today, Defenders of Wildlife sent Governor Inslee a letter  requesting that he work with WDFW to rescind this protocol until the WDFW’s stakeholder Wolf Advisory Group and the public have an opportunity to provide further input on this matter.
Specifically, Defenders objects to this new protocol since it would significantly reduce the number of wolf/livestock conflicts needed to justify killing wolves, thereby delaying full wolf recovery throughout the state. Defenders also objects to efforts by WDFW to prematurely include wolves as a “game species” under a new Game Management Plan for 2015-2021, the document that sets the guidelines for hunting wildlife in the state. Gray wolves are still listed in Washington as endangered under both the state and federal endangered species acts; it is premature and inappropriate to begin treating wolves like game species.
Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife, issued the following statement:
“Wolves are only just beginning to reestablish themselves in Washington, but already game officials in the state are trying to find ways to reduce protection for them and make it easier to kill them. Washington state is located in wolves’ historical range and the state has an opportunity to promote sustainable strategies to address wolf conflicts in a manner that ensures healthy wolf populations throughout the state.
“Unfortunately, recent actions taken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife suggest that Washington is taking its lead on wolf management from vehement anti-wolf states like Idaho and Wyoming where wolves are treated like vermin instead of being managed like other species of wildlife. The better wolf management model to follow is Oregon which has adopted management policies for wolves that are more balanced, effective and sustainable.
“Indeed, there are plenty of ways for humans, wolves and other animals to co-exist in Washington using proven nonlethal deterrents and animal husbandry practices. We hope Governor Inslee is successful in securing the reversal of WDGF’s recent actions on wolves as the species is still struggling to recover in the state.”
Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With more than 1 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit www.defenders.org  and follow us on Twitter @DefendersNews .