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Washington Wolf Killed to Benefit Private Livestock Industry

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials announced that a second member from a wolf family “that is north of the Touchet pack territory and west of the Tucannon pack territory” was killed to protect cows.

On November 10, Director Kelly Susewind issued kill permits allowing livestock producers to kill up to two wolves occupying that territory in response to livestock attacks; on November 15, Director Susewind rescinded the permits for the producers and instead tasked WDFW officials with killing the wolves. On November 18, WDFW killed an adult male from the family. The permits for the livestock producers were reinstated following the first killing and a juvenile male wolf from the family was killed on December 8.

The kill permits would have expired on December 10. Before the killings began, the family was believed to have four adults and four pups.

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?