By Eli Francovich
Kill fewer wolves.
That was the message Gov. Jay Inslee sent to Washington’s wildlife management agency in a letter, Monday.
“We must find new methods to better support co-existence between Washington’s livestock industry and gray wolves in our state,” Inslee said in the letter. “The status quo of annual lethal removal is simply unacceptable.”
Inslee acknowledges that in most cases Washington’s wolves are existing peacefully with livestock and people. According to agency statistics 90% of Washington’s wolves aren’t causing problems. He also praised the state’s Wolf Advisory Group, which has members representing cattle, conservation and business interests.
However, in northeast Washington it’s been a summer of conflict with wolves killing and injuring cattle, prompting the state and, in some case, ranchers to kill wolves, in turn prompting environmental groups to sue the state.
In response to the state-ordered killings, Inslee urged a reexamination of policy and procedure in parts of northeast Washington where WDFW has repeatedly killed wolves charged with attacking cattle.
“For reasons that are not entirely clear, numerous conflicts with livestock producers have occurred in a handful of federal grazing allotments,” the letter states.