Grey Wolf (Canis lupus) Portrait

SPOKANE — Conservation groups on Monday asked the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to sharply limit the number of endangered wolves that are killed over conflicts with livestock.

The state has killed 31 wolves since 2012, under a system that environmental groups contend favors ranchers over the animals.

“”Washington’s trigger-happy wolf program favors livestock owners and ignores sound science,” said Sophia Ressler, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “It’s a broken system.”″

Officials for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The conservation groups want the wildlife commission to amend its rules to require that livestock producers use appropriate non-lethal deterrence methods to prevent conflict between livestock and wolves. The new rules would ensure that the state kills wolves only as a last resort.

The petition also proposes additional restrictions in areas where there have been repeated conflicts, such as the Kettle River Range in northeastern Washington state.

Of 31 wolves killed by the state since 2012, 26 were shot in the Kettle River Range on behalf of the same rancher.

“Wolf pack after wolf pack has been slaughtered in the Kettle River Range, but wolves keep coming back,” Ressler said. “It’s a horrendous example of the futility of Washington’s wolf policies.”

According to the state’s recent annual wolf report, a new pack has already established itself in the same area where the department previously wiped out wolf packs in 2019, 2017 and 2016.

The commission has 60 days to respond to the petition. If it’s denied, conservationists may appeal the decision to Gov. Jay Inslee, who has told the department that repeated killing of wolves in the same area is “simply unacceptable.”

If the petition is granted, the commission would seek public comment on the new rules.

The environmental groups involved include Cascadia Wildlands, WildEarth Guardians and Western Watersheds Project.

“Livestock grazing on public lands can’t be a death sentence for Washington’s native wolves,” said Jocelyn Leroux, Washington and Montana director at Western Watersheds Project. “The burden should not be on native wildlife to adapt.”

Washington’s wolf population was virtually wiped out in the 1930s, but the animals eventually moved back into the state from Idaho and Canada. The state documented a pack in Okanogan County in 2008. Since then, the number of wolves has increased every year.

The DFW recently estimated that the wolf population grew in 2019 to an estimated 145 wolves in 26 packs. That compared to 126 wolves in 27 packs in 2018.

Gray wolves have been classified as endangered in all or part of Washington since 1973.

In 2011, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service ended Endangered Species Act protection for wolves in the eastern third of the state but preserved it for those in the western two-thirds.

Under state law, wolves were listed as endangered in 1980 and have retained that status statewide.

(55) comments

Desert Dweller

The ranchers have poured a couple of generations into the raising of cattle in North Eastern Washington State. They have provided jobs and poured money into the local economy not to mention the beef we get to enjoy.

The wolves provide nothing but conflict.

Cheburashka

Wrong. The wolves provide a balanced ecosystem, cutting down on disease in deer and elk herds. And we're talking about a very small number of ranchers who could work elsewhere. There will still be beef.

Desert Dweller

Tell you what, you cancel 3 generations of your families effort to make a living and maybe you will become relevant.

Cheburashka

How does becoming obsolete make me relevant?

Desert Dweller

You are wanting a family who has invested 3 generations into making a home and a life for themselves and their employees to give up their home, remove their children from their schools and friends, eliminate the jobs they have provided and the economic support they have provided to their community and go some place else and start over just so you can have wolves where they are working.

You do that to your family first then ask them to do it.

Cheburashka

Wolves were there before people were. They're essentially renting.the land. The landlord is.making changes, improving the property. They can choose to stay, or adapt. Face it. You'll.ever convince me that one family is more important than taking steps toward returning a national forest to it's natural state.

Desert Dweller

Sounds like you have a problem with the government to me. Those ranchers pay the rent and make the improvements to the land and have a contract with the BLM the State of Washington and the Forest Service for the use of those parcels of land. I have been at the auction for the free parcels when the contracts expire.

I again find you to not only be irrelevant but also unfair.

Cheburashka

Making the land better for cattle doesn't improve it aside from making it better for cattle. It doesn't benefit me. It doesn't benefit the cattle who are only there to get big enough to die. It helps the market oh so slightly. Mostly, it helps one family. I place the health of the ecosystem above the needs of one family.

Desert Dweller

You truly are a liberal. No comprehension of the effort and dedication by 3 generations of a family to build something where there was nothing. There were no wolves when they started ranching there, they have contracted with the government for the use of the land and paid the fees required.

Yet you in your desire to have wolves would invalidate the 3 generations of raising food for the population and adding to the local economy providing jobs and building a community.

And I bet you have never even been within 50 miles of Kettle Falls let alone lived and worked there.

Just want it, how utterly disappointing.

Cheburashka

"Something where there was nothing." Is that really how you think? anything not built by humans doesn't count as anything at all? There was certainly something there. An ecosystem. And now, there's an unbalanced ecosystem because cattle, which are not even native to this confident, and certainly not to regions like Kettle Falls, are too large, slow, and stupid to avoid being killed by the animals that belong there. And no, I have never been to Kettle Falls. I have also never been to the Amazon rainforest, but that does not mean that I want them cutting it down so they can raise more cattle. That's kind of the whole point of this. There should be some areas that are kept in their natural state.

Cheburashka

Continent, not confident.

JohnQPublic

You're wrong. If you knew anything about ecology, you'd know that a stable food web or ecosystem becomes unbalanced when a top level predator is newly part of it. The food web will rebalance itself eventually as prey/predator ratios become sustainable and are able to carry each other.

Cheburashka

Newly? On biological and evolutionary scales, seventy years is the blink of an eye. That ecosystem is unbalanced without wolves

JohnQPublic

...and there you go changing the parameters of the problem so that it becomes unsolvable. I'm glad you didn't teach any of my kids.

Carlo's

Cherb. The ecosystem is perfectly balance without wolfs. What we are talking about here is the NATO agenda 21 (agenda 2030 now since people were catching on the agenda 21) . Working toward the one world order. The have to remove people from rural areas and confine them to cities to make it work. Communist type agena. You guys need to study up on it and help put a stop to it. Look it up, it's all there. Cheb isn't smart enough to realize whats going on or he/she/it thinks it's cool.

Carlo's

Cheburashka is not going to tell you that the "grazing on know den sites" was an allegation made by a WSU prof. who was caught lying and falsifying data a few years back. The grazing was not purposely taking place on know den sites.

Desert Dweller

I have a pretty good read on the "russian puppet".

Yeah I worked up there for several different ranchers back in the 70's, great bunch of people working their butt's off to make it work.

Cheburashka

Even if that were true, (have you any evidence? Name the Professor) it's still just one rancher and .5% of the State's cattle.

Carlo's

Cheburaska: Dr. Rob Wielgus and you know it. Article written by Chris Cowbrough, Thursday Sept 8, 2016, Ferry County Wa. "“In fact, the rancher identified in the article did not intentionally place livestock at or near the den site of the Profanity Peak wolf pack, and Dr. Wielgus subsequently acknowledged that he had no basis in fact for making such a statement. .In fact, the Diamond M Ranch has held a long-term grazing permit for 73 years and has worked with both the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and the U.S. Forest Service in the management of livestock in order to avoid conflict (following procedures outlined by the Washington Wolf Advisory Group). People read the article for yourself and there are more. Cheburashka is not and will not tell the truth. Indeed(he/she or it) is unreliable.

Cheburashka

No, I didn't know it. The article I read used his allegations and I hadn't seen WSUs retraction. So no, the cattle were not intentionally placed there. I was mistaken. I appreciate the clarification. However, finding one error in an argument doesn't disprove the argument. I still think Diamond M should accept their losses or ranch somewhere else. The wolves will keep coming back, and there's no point in continuing to kill every pack that wanders into prime wolf territory.

JohnQPublic

That's really good. Ignoring facts is great, right? Let me summarize your answer. Okay, the facts prove me wrong, but my feelings make me right, in spite of factual evidence that is contrary to my feelings. Good job!

JohnQPublic

For once, I will agree to do what you've asked. Deleted.

JohnQPublic

I delete your posts for reasons you'll never comprehend.

Desert Dweller

Maybe the wolves have come up with some cash to rent the ground.

Ranchers pay a price for the use of the land and have invested a considerable amount in improvements not to mention that they did not used to have the wolf problem until some dim bulb reintroduced them where the ranchers were leasing the land.

Cheburashka

Why do you keep saying they were reintroduced? My understanding is that they arrived of their own volition, migrating from adjacent States and Canada.

Cheburashka

Well? Did you figure out who introduced them?

Desert Dweller

They keep talking about food shortages.

Support your local rancher beef is food!!

Wolves---not so much.

Cheburashka

One: Not local. They're practically in Canada.

Two: It's one rancher--Len McIrvin--who grazes his cattle on Federal land

Three: The Diamond M ranch has .4% of the cattle in Washington State.

Four: The Diamond M ranch takes inadequate precautions against wolves and has grazed its cattle on top of known den sites to incite wolf attacks.

Desert Dweller

Tough deal for you to put the "reintroduced" predators ahead of the human beings that have been raising cattle on the state, federal, and their own land well before some dim bulb decided to bring back the wolf population.

Yes I worked up there when I was a kid, there were no wolves only coyotes and cougars. Spent 2 summers building and repairing barbed wire fences. What these people have invested into making a life for themselves deserves more respect than what they are getting.

Cheburashka

There's a difference between people and cheap hamburger. I place wolves above cheap meat. So no, I don't place one ranch above ecological balance.

Desert Dweller

I find you to be irrelevant.

Cheburashka

I find you to have lost this argument.

Desert Dweller

see my previous comment

Desert Dweller

Wolves not smart enough to realize that the ranchers have invested their entire life into raising cattle and sheep in the area.

There were no wolves then someone reintroduced them.

I strung miles of barbed wire for ranchers up in the Kettle Falls area back when I was a kid and there were no wolves.

Leave the ranchers take care of the wolves and you can eat the beef.

Cheburashka

Ranchers not smart enough to realize that they don't own the land, and the State that does supports the wolves that were there for centuries before cows arrived.

Desert Dweller

I still find you to be irrelevant.

Cheburashka

And I still find your repeated protestations that I am irrelevant to be ironic.

Desert Dweller

Raise some beef

Cheburashka

Go beyond beef.

darling

Great comment...You can judge the State of a nation by how they treat their Animals. Take a trip to Grant County Animal Control Ranchers are not Gods..

Carlo's

Let me see, are these the same people who have threatened the lives of state game dept. when the game dept. wanted to have a public meeting? Bet me they are all involved. They would rather blow your children's brains out than see one of their Non Native wolves damaged. Is the wildlife system broken? Probably and also probably corrupt, but the law profession is so out of touch with the truth it is mostly worthless now.

Cheburashka

Wait... you're a non-native person complaining about non-native wolves? 🙄

JohnQPublic

I'm native and I complain about wolves. How come where I was born, or where Carlo's was born invalidate our opinions?

Being a russian puppet, does that mean you can't have valid opinions about America?

Cheburashka

You're native? Wow. Not a lot of Sinkayuse still around. 🙄

JohnQPublic

I'm not sure why I am trying to help you understand, but here goes:

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/native?src=search-dict-hed

Definition of native (Entry 1 of 2)

1: INBORN, INNATE

native talents

2: belonging to a particular place by birth

a native New Yorker

3archaic : closely related

4: belonging to or associated with one by birth

hailed in his native Sweden as an influential dramatist

— William Peden

Cheburashka

Then these wolves are also native. They were born in the US.

JohnQPublic

Do you even know who your ineptly arguing with anymore?

Cheburashka

I know how to spell "you're." How's that for "ept?"

JohnQPublic

I acknowledge my incorrect use of your in place of you're. Thank you for pointing out my flaws and continuing to be a moving target that cannot be held to any one standard.

Cheburashka

I felt my "ept" was apt since you were getting pedantic about word definitions and such. Calling someone else inept while making a pretty basic blunder is quite ironic.

JohnQPublic

Special interest groups are stupid and narrow-minded. They only want what they want, and screw everyone else with a contrary idea or belief.

Cheburashka

Ranchers are also a special interest group that seems to want to screw everyone else.

JohnQPublic

You must not eat any food that came from a ranch/farm/not your backyard. And you're so angry! Is it the conflict between progressivism and reality? If you need a ride to get help, please reach out.

JohnQPublic

I'm not angry at all. In fact, it's funny when I delete your posts.

JohnQPublic

Nope. It's not nice to spread lies and falsehoods. Delete!

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