Washington State Prepares to Kill Injured Wolf To Protect Cows
A Thurston County Superior Court judge today issued an order permitting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to initiate lethal action to kill the adult male wolf from the Togo pack. The kill order was originally issued following livestock depredations in Togo territory, including on U.S. Forest Service land, over the course of 10 months.
Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands filed a lawsuit when the kill order was first issued on August 20, citing faulty protocol and a lack of environmental analysis, but a judge stated the standards to halt the kill order weren’t met.
WDFW killed state endangered wolves in 2016 and 2017 in order to “change wolf pack behavior to reduce the potential for recurrent wolf depredations on livestock,” yet livestock attacks continue.
What does this mean for the Togo pack? As of 5 pm (PST) today, the kill order is active. The Togo male is already injured, having been shot by a rancher claiming self-defense, yet he will be tracked by WDFW officials until he is killed.
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 remains contentious. WDFW killed state endangered wolves in 2016 and 2017 in order to “change wolf pack behavior to reduce the potential for recurrent wolf depredations on livestock,” yet livestock attacks continue.
Is it time for WDFW to listen to science and the desires of the American public and stop killing wolves, on America’s public lands no less, in order to benefit the profit margins of a private business?