Conservation groups have submitted a petition to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission, requesting amendments to the Washington Administrative Code to improve the state’s management of endangered gray wolves. The petitioners argue that the current approach, which often involves killing wolves in response to conflicts with livestock, is ineffective and lacks transparency and accountability.
The petition comes after the WDFW has repeatedly used taxpayer money to kill wolves, an endangered species in the state, to benefit the livestock industry. The petitioners argue that the department has failed to manage conflicts between livestock and wolves effectively, often resorting to lethal measures even when livestock producers have not taken basic steps to protect their cattle.
The petitioners are asking the Commission to consider rules that would make Washington a leader in science-based wolf management. They propose rules that focus on using effective non-lethal measures to prevent livestock-wolf conflict, promote social tolerance for coexisting with wolves, prevent the use of legal loopholes to kill wolves, and institute a consistent, transparent, and science-based process to guide the Department in authorizing any lethal control actions.
The petition also highlights a rise in illegal wolf killings and the use of a loophole in the current law by livestock owners to kill wolves, claiming the wolves were “caught in the act” of attacking livestock, even when there is no evidence to support these claims.
The petitioners hope that the Commission will give due consideration to their request and schedule a meeting to discuss the proposed amendments. The outcome of this petition could have significant implications for the future of wolf management in Washington State.