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Washington Officials Issue Kill Orders Targeting New Wolf Family to Protect Cows

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Kelly Susewind issued a kill order for up to two wolves from “an area of new wolf pack activity north of the Touchet pack territory and west of the Tucannon pack territory in southeast Washington’s Columbia County.” Officials believe there are four adults and four pups in this pack.

The kill permits expire when the wolf/wolves have been killed, livestock are removed from the area, or after December 10, 2021 (whichever comes first).

Wolf pack territories in Washington. Map courtesy of WDFW.

Killing Wolves Doesn’t Solve Problems

The state has obliterated several wolf packs over the years, starting with the Wedge Pack in 2012, and has caused countless packs to fragment as a result of targeting individual wolves. All of these kill orders were issued with the same goal: stop livestock depredation. Yet science shows that killing a wolf can increase the risk that wolves will prey on livestock in the future. It is counterproductive and unsustainable.

This latest removal order further illustrates WDFW’s willingness to prioritize private industry over the state’s wildlife. Why are WDFW officials continuing to ignore peer-reviewed science that indicates lethal control of wolves only exacerbates livestock conflict, especially when they’re presented with years of evidence in their own state?