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Wolf “Management” on America’s Public Lands


Earlier this week the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) lethally removed a state endangered wolf to protect cows grazing on public lands.

The wolf was a member of the “Smackout” family group.

The department did not release any details about the kill, including the age or gender of the wolf, or how, when, or where it was killed. In its update, WDFW stated that “removal operations are ongoing, and the department will provide another update in one week.”

Although Washington stands apart from other states by requiring the utilization of nonlethal practices, such as employing range riders to separate wolves from cattle, the debate surrounding WDFW’s wolf management plan remains contentious. Wolves evoke intense emotions so it’s not surprising that the discussion can turn vitriolic.

But beyond the wide range of human emotions inspired by this politicized species, a key issue remains at the center of the debate.

The public lands of the United States harbor some of the greatest resources of our nation and are owned by all Americans. Should Washington be allowed to kill wolves (state endangered no less) on America’s public lands to benefit the profit margins of a private business?