“While we appreciate the effort to codify the use of non-lethal practices, there is no justification for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to make it easier to kill wolves. Conservation efforts can’t backslide right now.”

Zoë Hanley, Northwest representative with Defenders of Wildlife

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is currently accepting public comment on proposed rule changes to address how the state handles gray wolf-livestock conflict deterrence. 

As proposed, the new rules lack clear and enforceable language that would ensure appropriate proactive non-lethal practices are used by producers to reduce livestock losses before the agency considers killing wolves. 

Additionally, these rules make it easier to kill wolves in “chronic conflict areas” where use of non-lethal practices are most needed. 

“There are only about 200 animals in Washington’s recovering wolf population, and they remain absent from much of their former range in the state,” said Zoë Hanley, northwest representative with Defenders of Wildlife. “While we appreciate the effort to codify the use of non-lethal practices, there is no justification for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to make it easier to kill wolves. Conservation efforts can’t backslide right now.” 

Rulemaking is an opportunity to re-envision how humans interact with wolves in Washington and set expectations, guidance and requirements which are necessary if humans are to coexist with wolves successfully. 

These rules need to clarify expectations for the use of appropriate non-lethal practices and provide consistent standards for when lethal control will be considered.

Defenders of Wildlife’s Northwest program will be providing feedback on these rules and encouraging the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to adopt stricter guidelines that support wolf recovery in the state. 
 

Defenders of Wildlife is celebrating 75 years of protecting all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With a nationwide network of nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

Communications Specialist
hhammer@defenders.org
(202) 772-0295
Northwest Representative

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