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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Steps Up Wolf Killing

Wolves on the open range

The Department takes aim at Grouse Flats Pack, said to be responsible four cattle depredations in two months

We are seeing a state wildlife agency morphing into a group of hired guns for cattle ranchers running their animals on our public lands.”
— Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy

OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON, USA, September 25, 2019 / -- Yesterday, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife director Kelly Susewind authorized the incremental killing of wolves in the Grouse Flats pack in the southeast part of the state. Prior wolf-killing plans targeted animals in northeast part of the state, mainly in the Colville National Forest, due to the reckless ranching practices from the Diamond M Ranch. The range for the Grouse Flats pack extends into Oregon, and the plan allows for two kills, a pause to consider the effects on the behavior of survivors, and then a determination on killing the remaining wolves.

The state says that the eight members of the Grouse Flats pack engaged in two depredations on calves or cows in the last 30 days for a total of four depredations in the past two months, triggering the option of lethal removal under the state's Wolf Management Plan. The cows or calves killed by wolves were mainly grazing on federal land or state land (wildlife areas) through a permitting system.

This new kill order comes five weeks after the state was able to kill the four remaining wolves of the Old Profanity Peak pack in the days and hours before a Superior Court judge granted an injunction to wolf advocates halting the killings. “We are seeing a state wildlife agency morphing into a group of hired guns for cattle ranchers running their animals on our public lands,” said Wayne Pacelle of the Center for a Humane Economy, the group assisting with a lawsuit that sought to protect the members of the Old Profanity Peak. In that case brought by three Washington citizens who enjoy hiking and seeing wildlife, the judge found the Diamond M Ranch derelict in its responsibility to undertake required nonlethal preventative steps prior to the state’s deadly intervention

“The Department is simply too quick on the trigger in authorizing wolf kills, especially on public lands," added Jennifer McCausland of the Center for a Humane Economy. "We need a time-out on wolf killing in the state after the agency's overreach in killing off the entire Old Profanity Pack in the Colville National Forest. There is a trust issue with the state wildlife agency and its predator-killing actions.”

The state canceled public hearings on the state’s wolf management plans, citing threats and safety concerns. That action, whether warranted or not, does inhibit the agency from getting feedback on its wolf management practices.

Prior to the spate of recent killings, wolves have been slowly reclaiming small portions of their original range in Washington. However, the state is on pace this year to kill a fifth of all Washington’s wolves, which the Department of Fish and Wildlife had previously estimated at approximately 125 animals. Wolves are federally protected as an endangered species in the western two-thirds of the state. In the eastern third of the state, wolves are considered threatened and subject to the state’s lethal removal policy based on livestock attacks. The Department has a standing order to kill two wolves in the Togo pack in northeastern Washington.

The Karner Blue Center for a Humane Economy (“the Center”) is a non-profit organization linked to the investment advisor Karner Blue Capital (“KBC”) that focuses on influencing the conduct of corporations to forge a humane economic order. The first organization of its kind in the animal protection movement, the Center encourages businesses to honor their social responsibilities in a culture where consumers, investors, and other key stakeholders abhor cruelty and the degradation of the environment and embrace innovation as a means of eliminating both.

Wayne Pacelle
Center for a Humane Economy
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