Tax Payer Dollars Used To Kill Wolves After Rancher Request

From our coalition partners at Washington Wildlife First:

Since 2012, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has used taxpayer money to kill 41 state endangered wolves due to conflicts with livestock. The Department has eliminated entire wolf families, and even targeted pups too young to hunt. Ninety percent of these wolves were killed due to conflicts on public lands, and the vast majority of these conflicts came after a single ranching family refused to take commonsense steps to protect its livestock.

Last month, [NARN] and 10 other conservation groups filed a petition asking the Commission to adopt rules to end this senseless slaughter. Our rules would require the Department to meet certain standards before it can consider killing wolves, such as ensuring that livestock owners are not attracting wolves to their herds and that they have taken reasonable steps to protect their livestock and avoid conflict. Our wolf protection rules would also prevent the Department from targeting entire wolf families, shooting wolf pups too young to hunt, and killing wolves in our public forests.

We need you to remind the Fish & Wildlife Commission that Washington’s wolves “belong” to all of us, and should not be killed just to satisfy the demands of powerful special interests. We need you to tell the Commission that our public forests should belong to wildlife, not cattle. And we need you to demand rules to bring an end to the unnecessary, ineffective, and senseless killing of our endangered wolves.

Learn more by reviewing our suggested talking points, (please ignore the Sep 5th deadline).

Below are the talking point to help you craft your letter to the Commission. Don't forget to write out your letter after clicking "start writing!"

Talking Points
Below are a few suggested talking points to get you started.
• The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife needs to adopt binding rules to regulate when
it can use taxpayer funds to kill state endangered wolves. It is unacceptable to have the
Department continue to make those decisions in accordance with an informal protocol that it
can simply disregard when it chooses.
• The proposed rule would require the Department to meet certain standards before it kills state
endangered wolves, including requiring that the livestock producers involved in the conflicts
employ basic nonlethal measures to prevent conflict before the Department can consider killing
• The public has a right to transparency and accountability regarding how the Department decides
to take the extreme action of intentionally killing a state endangered species.
• Of the 41 wolves the Department has killed to date, 80% have been killed, at least in part, due to
conflict with cattle belonging to a single family. Yet the Department has refused to address the
root cause of these conflicts by requiring that family to take steps to protect their cattle before it
continues to kill wolves on their behalf. The proposed rule would end this single family’s
powerful hold over the state’s livestock management policy.
• Our public forests belong to wolves, not cattle! Nearly 90% of the wolves the Department has
killed were either on public lands or killed after conflicts with cattle on public lands. Only 25% of
Washington voters support this practice. This rule would bring that practice to an end and take a
huge step toward returning our forests to wildlife.
• The Department manages the state wolf population in the public trust on behalf of all
Washingtonians, not just for the state’s tiny livestock industry—or for one cattle-producing
family. The Department should respect the views of the public before routinely killing our
endangered wolves on our public land.
• Killing wolves does not decrease livestock-wolf conflict. The Department has unintentionally
proven this point by killing wolves over and over in the same locations, as a result of conflicts
with the same livestock producer. Because the Department does not require livestock producers
to adjust their practices to prevent conflict, this conflict will continue even as the Department
keeps killing wolves.
• The Department uses public funds to pay for sharpshooters to kill wolves, with the tab
sometimes running more than $100,000 to target one wolf pack in a single season. That is an
outrageous use of taxpayer money to fund an action that is both unnecessary and ineffective.
• The more wolves the Department kills, the longer it will take for the wolf population to recover.
There are only 216 wolves in the state, and the rate of growth has slowed. Wolves still have not
returned to the largest region of habitat in the state.
• Last year, the Department targeted one wolf family even though it was later revealed that
livestock producers had left cattle carcasses in the area that attracted wolves and created
conflict. It used a sharpshooter from a helicopter to kill a wolf pup that was too young to hunt
on its own and that did not even belong to a pack involved in the conflicts. The new rule would
put in place standards to require the Department to confirm there are no attractants in the area
before it kills wolves. It would also prevent the Department from killing wolf pups.
• To date, the Department has reported that individuals have killed 9 wolves that were
“caught in the act” of attacking livestock, 4 of which occurred over approximately the past
year. In most cases, the wolf killed was not even near the livestock it was supposedly
attacking—in one case, the wolf was 60 yards away from a fenced livestock pasture. The
proposed rule would close this loophole that allows for the illegal killing of wolves.

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