Washington Governor Urged to Order New Rules to Reduce Wolf-Killing; State has Killed 31 Endangered Wolves Since 2012

Gray wolf. Photo: Jeffrey St. Clair.

SEATTLE. Conservation groups appealed to Governor Jay Inslee today to order the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to draft enforceable rules that limit when the state can kill endangered wolves for conflicts with livestock.

Today’s appeal, filed by WildEarth Guardians, Center for Biological Diversity, Cascadia Wildlands, and Western Watersheds Project seeks a reversal of the commission’s June 26 denial of the groups’ formal petition for wolf-management rules.

“Unfortunately for Washington’s state-endangered wolves, the stakeholder process is broken. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife relies on the Wolf Advisory Group for wolf management decisions, which gives disproportionate power to ranching and hunting interests. Effectively, this has silenced the public and created a system in which common-sense rules and modern science can be completely ignored,” said Samantha Bruegger, Wildlife Coexistence Campaigner at WildEarth Guardians. “It is critical to initiate rulemaking to repair the impossible situation the Wolf Advisory Group has created.”

The state has killed 31 endangered wolves since 2012. Twenty-six of those wolves were slaughtered at the demand of the same livestock operator, Diamond M Ranch, in the Kettle River Range on the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington.

In late June, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife issued a kill order on the Togo Pack, and today they issued a kill order for a wolf in the Wedge Pack. Agency staff recognize that this high-conflict area is prime wolf habitat. If enforceable requirements to use proactive deterrence measures aren’t implemented, conflict with wolves will continue, today’s appeal says.

The groups’ appeal proposed a mix of new and amended rules that would provide clarity to the agency, livestock operators, and the public. The amended rules would require that livestock operators use appropriate nonlethal deterrence methods to prevent conflict between livestock and wolves. The new rules would ensure that the state kills wolves only as a last resort.

“These are common sense rules that incentivize livestock producers to use non-lethal, preventative measures and encourage these producers to enter cooperative agreements with the Department,” said Nick Cady, Legal Director of Cascadia Wildlands. “To be clear, livestock operators have the right to defend their own animals, but if they want the state to use public dollars to kill wolves on their behalf, these operations are going to have to play ball.”

“Livestock producers must manage their cows to reduce conflict with wolves, and this requirement should be welcomed by the Department,” said Jocelyn Leroux, Washington/Montana Director of Western Watersheds Project. “These rules are necessary so the Department can manage the wildlife they are tasked with protecting for a healthy, flourishing population across their native range.”

“The state’s constant killing of wolves shows that the current system is completely broken,” said Sophia Ressler, a Washington wildlife advocate and staff attorney at the Center. “New rules would save wolves, prevent livestock losses and provide the accountability the people of Washington deserve in the management of our endangered wolves.”

The governor has 45 days to respond to the appeal request. Gov. Inslee could overrule the commission’s decision and require that a rulemaking be initiated, which would open a comment period to seek public input on new rules.


Sophia Ressler, Center for Biological Diversity, (206) 399-4004, sressler@biologicaldiversity.org

Nick Cady, Cascadia Wildlands, (314) 482-3746, nick@cascwild.org

Jocelyn Leroux, Western Watersheds Project, (406) 960-4164, jocelyn@westernwatersheds.org

Samantha Bruegger, WildEarth Guardians, (970) 363-4191, sbruegger@wildearthguardians.org

More articles by:
August 13, 2020
David Correia, Justin Bendell, and Ernesto Longa
Nine Mile Ride: Why Police Reform Always Results in More Police Violence, Not Less
Vijay Prashad
Why a Growing Force in Brazil Is Charging That President Jair Bolsonaro Has Committed Crimes Against Humanity
Brett Wilkins
Teaching Torture: The Death and Legacy of Dan Mitrione
Joseph Scalia III
Yellowstone Imperiled by Compromise
Binoy Kampmark
Don’t Stigmatise the Nuke! Opponents of the Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty
Margot Rathke
The Stimulus Deal Should Include Free College
Thomas Knapp
America Doesn’t Have Real Presidential Debates, But It Should
George Ochenski
Time to Face – and Plan for – Our Very Different Future
Ted Rall
Joe Biden’s Vice Presidential Pick is … ZZZZZ
Purusottam Thakur
‘If We Don’t Work, Who’ll Produce the Harvest?’
Robert Dreyfuss
October Surprise: Will War with Iran Be Trump’s Election Eve Shocker?
Gary Leupp
The RCP, Fascism, and Chairman Bob’s Endorsement of Biden for President
James Haught
The Pandemic Disproves God
Robert Koehler
Election Theft and the Reluctant Democracy
August 12, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Trump’s War On Arms Control and Disarmament
P. Sainath
“We Didn’t Bleed Him Enough”: When Normal is the Problem
Riva Enteen
Kamala Harris? Really? Desperate Times, Desperate Measures
Kenneth Surin
The Decrepit UK Political System
Robert Hunziker
Freakish Arctic Fires Alarmingly Intensify
Ramzy Baroud
The Likud Conspiracy: Israel in the Throes of a Major Political Crisis
Sam Pizzigati
Within Health Care USA, Risk and Reward Have Never Been More Out of Kilter
John Perry
The US Contracts Out Its Regime Change Operation in Nicaragua
Binoy Kampmark
Selective Maritime Rules: The United States, Diego Garcia and International Law
Manuel García, Jr.
The Improbability of CO2 Removal From the Atmosphere
Khury Petersen-Smith
The Road to Portland: The Two Decades of ‘Homeland Security’
Raouf Halaby
Teaching Palestinian Children to Love Beethoven, Bizet, and Mozart is a Threat to a Depraved Israeli Society
Jeff Mackler
Which Way for Today’s Mass Radicalization? Capitalism’s Impending Catastrophe…or a Socialist Future
Tom Engelhardt
It Could Have Been Different
Stephen Cooper
Santa Davis and the “Stalag 17” Riddim
August 11, 2020
Richard D. Wolff
Why Capitalism is in Constant Conflict With Democracy
Paul Street
Defund Fascism, Blue and Orange
Richard C. Gross
Americans Scorned
Andrew Levine
Trump and Biden, Two Ignoble Minds Here O’erthrown
Patrick Cockburn
The Rise of Nationalism Has Led to the Increased Repression of Minorities
Sonali Kolhatkar
Trump’s Presidency is a Death Cult
Colin Todhunter
Pushing GMO Crops into India: Experts Debunk High-Level Claims of Bt Cotton Success
Valerie Croft
How Indigenous Peoples are Using Ancestral Organizing Practices to Fight Mining Corporations and Covid-19
David Rovics
Tear Gas Ted Has a Tantrum in Portland
Dean Baker
There is No Evidence That Generous Unemployment Benefits are Making It Difficult to Find Workers
Robert Fantina
War on Truth: How Kashmir Struggles for Freedom of Press
Dave Lindorff
Trump Launches Attack on Social Security and Medicare
Elizabeth Schmidt
COVID-19 Poses a Huge Threat to Stability in Africa
Parth M.N.
Coping With a Deadly Virus, a Social One, Too
Thomas Knapp
The “Election Interference” Fearmongers Think You’re Stupid
Binoy Kampmark
Mealy-Mouthed Universities: Academic Freedom and the Pavlou Problem Down Under