Elk NetworkEmotions Rise over Out-of-State Wolf Ruling

Conservation | August 30, 2018

The 18-member Washington Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) is tasked with recommending strategies to reduce conflicts with wolves as outlined in the state’s Wolf and Conservation Management Plan. That plan outlines trigger points that must be met for the approved lethal removal of a wolf or a wolf pack.

Even though those points were met with a series of livestock depredations in northeast Washington, a judge granted a temporary restraining order filed by two out-of-state environmental groups—Center for Biological Diversity (Arizona) and Cascadia Wildlands (Oregon). That ruling upset one WAG member.

“The Center for Biological Diversity lawsuit is a giant step backward for social tolerance and management of wolves on the landscape,” Dave Duncan told the Northwest Sportsman. “Sadly it is all about cash flow.”

“Lawsuits and polarization haven’t worked out well for wolves elsewhere, so we see little upside in spreading those tactics to Washington, where wolf recovery is going relatively well overall,” said Mitch Friedman, Conservation Northwest executive director. “Instead of polarization, our focus is on collaboration and long-term coexistence.”

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains that state agencies should be allowed to manage wolves as they manage elk, bears, deer, mountain lions and other wildlife.

(Photo: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)