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Washington Continues Bloody Treatment of Wolves

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Kelly Susewind today authorized a kill order for one wolf from the Smackout pack territory in response to repeated attacks of cattle on public and private grazing lands. The kill order expires when a wolf is killed or after October 21, 2022, whichever comes first.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because Washington not only targets wolves annually to bolster the profits of private industry, but because they also targeted this very family just weeks ago. That kill order made national headlines because, rather than killing a wolf from the Smackout pack, WDFW killed a wolf in the territory – not realizing that the wolf was a member of the neighboring Dirty Shirt pack.

Smackout pack territory. Courtesy of WDFW.

WDFW is now attempting to “right their wrong,” while repeatedly refusing to acknowledge that their actions are always in the wrong.

Governor’s Pleas to Halt Wolf Killing Go Unanswered

WDFW began killing wolves in 2012 and the state officials have not stopped since – multiple wolf families have been targeted in recent years, and some have been completely decimated. Recognizing the unscientific foundation of these kill orders, and acting in response to the international outgrage at the repeated killings, Governor Jay Inslee issued a letter to WDFW Director Susewind in 2019 urging for a new model of coexistence. Gov. Inslee correctly recognized that “the status quo of lethal removal is simply unacceptable.”

The killings continued.

Gov. Inslee persisted, sending another letter in 2020 directing WDFW to initiate new wolf management rulemaking. He acknowledged that “the potential for future depredations and lethal control actions, under our exisiting framework, remains unacceptably high.”

The killings continue.

A Vicious Cycle and Future for Wolves

Washington’s ongoing killing of wolves to stop conflicts with cattle have demonstrably failed. Science shows that killing wolves to deter depredation on cows is ineffective and can even result in increased attacks.  The state of Washington’s actions have created a vicious cycle in which nobody wins and wolves pay the ultimate price.