Breaking! As Wolves Continue To Be Unfairly Killed In Washington, Governor Jay Inslee Puts A Stop To It & Calls For Non-Lethal Solutions

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This week, Washington Governor Jay Inslee directed the state’s fish and wildlife agency to stop killing Washington’s wolves.

“The status quo of annual lethal removal is simply unacceptable,” Governor Inslee wrote in a letter instructing the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to focus on finding non-lethal solutions for conflicts between livestock and wolves.

“This is a huge step forward for the protection of Washington’s wolves,” Amaroq Weiss, senior West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement. “After years of unscientific, unethical wolf killing by state wildlife officials, it is a relief to have Governor Inslee calling for reforms. Most Washington residents support wolves and wolf recovery. We are grateful that the governor has stepped in to do what is right.”

Inslee’s letter comes during a year when more wolves have been killed by the state wildlife department than ever before. The agency gunned down the entire eight-member OPT pack this summer. State officials killed the last four members in the early morning hours, just before a court hearing on a lawsuit seeking an injunction against killing the pack.

The agency also has kill orders pending against two other Washington wolf families, the Togo and Grouse Flats packs.

Governor Inslee’s letter follows years of advocacy by the Center and other conservation groups. Such efforts include administrative petitions seeking accountability and transparency from the department in its implementation of the state wolf-management plan.

Lawsuits and other actions by the Center and its allies, several of which are still pending, challenge the state’s wolf-killing policies and violations of the state’s Environmental Policy Act and Federal Administrative Procedures Act.

Wolf supporters have rallied outside wildlife department headquarters to protest kill orders and funded full-page newspaper ads in the Seattle Times and Spokesman Review, along with billboards in Seattle. In June, the Center submitted the signatures of 532,836 people from Washington and across the country that oppose the state’s ongoing killing of wolves for conflicts with cattle.

“Governor Inslee understands that recovering endangered wolves requires science-based solutions focused on keeping wolves alive, not killing them,” continued Weiss. “He clearly appreciates these ecologically essential and wondrous animals.”

Only 126 confirmed wolves lived in Washington at the end of 2018, in 27 packs and with 15 confirmed breeding pairs. Washington’s gray wolves are fully protected under the federal Endangered Species Act in the western two-thirds of Washington, and throughout the state under state endangered species law.

Over the past seven years, the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife has killed 30 state-endangered wolves for conflicts with livestock, killing 26 of those for the same livestock producer. Most killings occur on public lands.

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