Elk NetworkOut-of-State Enviro Group Sues Over Washington Wolf Management

General | November 17, 2017

An environmental group based in Arizona filed a lawsuit against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in an effort to seek access to some public records on wolf deaths in the state.

Specifically, the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) wants records about the state-sponsored killing of wolves in two packs over the last two years.

CBD has a track record of seeking to frustrate wildlife management via litigation. It recently joined other environmental groups in urging the governor of Oregon to reopen an investigation of an elk hunter that shot and killed a wolf. Authorities already ruled the hunter was justified and acted in self defense.

WDFW has a detailed, citizen-managed wolf management plan to address conflicts with livestock and impacts to other wildlife species that includes non-lethal actions to try and deter wolves that attack livestock. If those actions cause no behavior change, lethal actions are implemented.

Environmentalists claim the lethal removal of wolves damages the overall population, yet WDFW statistics show Washington had a minimum population of 115 wolves at the end of 2016, or an increase of 28 percent from one year earlier.

A WDFW spokesman told the Associated Press his agency is yet to review the lawsuit with attorneys and does not comment on the filing of legal complaints.

(Photo source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)