Wolves remain on Washington state’s endangered list

Washington Fish and Wildlife Department is firm that wolves remain protected under state law in all of the state-

Wolves are federally delisted in much of Eastern Washington now, but the state’s own endangered species act protects them all throughout the state. Officials recently reminded folks.

The state only has a half dozen to a dozen or so wolves. The original pack discovered now seems heavily chopped apart from illegal killing, but other wolves roam parts of the state, probably in at least one pack. The Lookout Pack, the original pack, was not a reintroduction or part of the Idaho wolves drifting westward. It came out of coastal Canada on its own.

Wolves remain on Washington state’s endangered list. AP in the Seattle Times.

Skinned corpse of wolf discovered in Washington State

State won’t say from which pack

This is bad news for Washington’s small wolf population but it sounds like the the case of a previous poaching incident from 2009 is still open and progressing. We’ve heard rumors that charges may be filed soon in the poaching of wolves from the Lookout Pack in north central Washington. The Lookout Pack is very important genetically because it came on its own from southwestern British Columbia, far from where the wolves reintroduced to Central Idaho and Yellowstone came from. They are also fully protected under the Endangered Species Act and the sentence for anyone convicted of killing them could be pretty severe.

Skinned corpse of wolf discovered, but state won’t say from which pack.
Conservation Northwest

‘Shoot’ remark was unnerving

During a talk in Spokane, Washington given by the director of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department about how budget cuts were affecting the department the subject of wolves came up and then things got ugly.

A response blurted out from the middle of the room:

“Why don’t we shoot some legislators?” a man said.

‘Shoot’ remark was unnerving.
Rich Landers – The Spokesman-Review

Wildlife officials suspect third wolf pack

Wolves continue to slowly reinhabit Washington state-

Excellent news!

Wildlife officials suspect third wolf pack.

Researchers can’t find Lookout Pack’s mother wolf

Researchers can’t find Lookout Pack’s mother wolf
By K.C. Mehaffey
Wenatchee World staff writer

Wolf pelt investigation yields other wildlife charges for two Twisp men

Numerous charges have been filed

This is in relation to a story that was first reported last year in March about someone who allegedly tried to send a package that was dripping blood and contained a wolf pelt.

Charges for killing the wolves have not been filed yet but charges for state game violations have been filed. Wolves in this part of Washington State are fully protected under the Endangered Species Act and the Lookout Pack is thought to have originated from dispersing wolves from the coastal region of British Columbia.

The original story can be found here: Poachers kill wolves from Washington state’s first pack

Wolf pelt investigation yields other wildlife charges for two Twisp men
Methow Valley News

Feature article on Washington State wolves

This is perhaps the most detailed article I have seen on the wolves of Washington State-

As the gray wolf recovers, who are its friends? By Daniel Jack Chasan. Crosscut.com

2009 Northern Rockies wolf report is out today

Long awaited official USFWS report on wolves is released-

Here is a brief AP story on some of the report’s conclusions. Folks should note that with the larger wolf population figures of recent years and the effects of the hunting seasons, the population estimate, and the especially estimate of the number of breeding pairs of wolves, undoubtedly are known with less precision than in the past.

Here is the link to the actual report, or more accurately, reports. http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/species/mammals/wolf/annualrpt09/index.html

Is there a new pack of wolves near Lake Chelan?

Is there a new pack of wolves near Lake Chelan?
By K.C. Mehaffey
World staff writer

Wolf management plan draws big crowd at Sequim, Washington

Wolf management plan draws big crowd. By Diane Urbani de la Paz. Peninsula Daily News

Wolf supporters dominate Seattle, WA meeting

Most favored alternative 3 in the state’s wolf plan-

While there seems to be no newspaper story on-line, I have heard from someone who attended the Seattle meeting on the Washington wolf plan. Wolf supporters dominated the meeting. Most of them favored alternative three, which is generally thought to be the alternative most favorable to the wolf, but is not proposed alternative.

Once again, acrobat pdf link to the plan.

Vampires and werewolves. Would Forks want some real wolves?

Now is the time to speak up on Washington State’s wolf management plan-

Forks on the Olympic Pennisula, until recently best known for logging, is the home of Twilght, romantic vampires. Has anyone not seen this? Yes, people over 40.

To get you up-to-date, here is a video from the Seattle Times.

The Olympic Penninsula could probably support one or two wolf packs. They aren’t going to migrate there, but the Washington wolf plan could put them there so that all the wolves that migrate into Washington State from Canada and Idaho don’t pile up in NE Washington.

There are 5 meetings left on the plan. The next one is Monday, Nov. 2 in Seattle. There is even a meeting in Sequim, not far from Forks.

Be brave! 😉

Mon., Nov. 2 Seattle REI store
222 Yale AVE N
Wed., Nov.4 Mount Vernon Cottontree Inn Convention Center
2300 Market ST
Thu., Nov. 5 Sequim Guy Cole Convention Center
Carrie Blake Park, 212 Blake AVE
Mon., Nov. 9 Omak Okanogan County Fairgrounds Agriplex
Hwy 97 South
Tue., Nov. 10 Wenatchee Chelan County PUD Auditorium
327 N Wenatchee Ave.


Anti-wolf dominates at Yakima Washington wolf plan meeting

Some professed “hunters” at meeting fear they will be eaten-

Another state; same fairy tales. Yakima, of course, isn’t the same as on the west side of the Cascades.

Community voices wolf concerns at WDFW forum. Some residents say hunting animals might be necessary to preserve human safety. By Scott Sandsberry. Yakima Herald-Republic
Someone just commented that the link was broken. The link above is now fixed.  Sorry and thanks!

This is a meeting on Washington’s wolf management plan. This is not the federal government.

Once again, here is the link to the plan.

Washington State wolf plan out for public review*

Plan contemplates a possible large state wolf population-

Plan contemplates floor of 15 breeding pairs. Wolves to be distributed all around the state. AP

The preferred alternative sounds like an advanced plan with a much better distribution pattern of wolves than we find in Idaho, and especially better than Montana or Wyoming. Currently the state has two wolf packs. One, near Twisp, falls fully under protection of the Endangered Species Act and consists of wolves that migrated in, not from the Rockies, but from the B.C. Coastal ranges.

Here is the plan. 4.5mb pdf

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*Whoever wrote the headline in the PI story didn’t seem to sense the real story in the story.

USFWS Wolf news Oct. 5- 9

Here is a smattering of official wolf news, mostly Wyoming, from Ed Bangs-


To: Regional Director, Region 6, Denver, Colorado
From: USFWS Wyoming Wolf Recovery Project Leader, Jackson, WY
Subject: Status of Gray Wolf Management in Wyoming and the NRM
WYOMING WOLF WEEKLY- Oct 5 through Oct 9, 2009

Web Address – USFWS reports (past weekly and annual reports) can be viewed at http://westerngraywolf.fws.gov . Weekly reports for Montana and Idaho are produced by those States and can be viewed on the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks website (http://fwp.mt.gov/wildthings/wolf/default.html) and Idaho Department of Fish and Game website http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/cms/wildlife/wolves All weekly and annual reports are government property and can be used for any purpose. Please distribute as you see fit. Read the rest of this entry »

Second Washington State wolf pack is radio collared

The “Diamond Pack” is in the state’s NE corner, next to Idaho-

Biologists collar, tag 2nd Wash. wolf pack. Washington state biologists say they have made contact with the state’s second wolf pack and have collared the alpha male.Seattle Times.

Earlier we did a post on this pack, complete with photos taken by a remote camera.

Second wolf pack in Washington State.

Genetic tests indicate wolves are from Alberta/Montana.

WDFW wolf

Wolf: photo Washington Department of Wildlife

Yet another pack of wolves may be present in Washington State. They are protected by Washington’s endangered species laws however they are not protected by the Federal Endangered Species Act in the eastern third of Washington.

Signs of wolf pack found in Pend Oreille County

Update 7/13/09:

King5 has a slideshow of the wolves photographed and another article about the wolves.

Possible resident gray wolves in Pend Orielle Co.

The new article indicates that WDFW is also investigating reports of wolves from the Blue Mountains in southeast portion of the state.

Update 7/14/09:

Second wolf pack confirmed in Washington
Associated Press

Read the rest of this entry »

Rare Washington wolf pack behaving itself

According the human perceptions, wolves near Twisp, WA are not causing trouble-

Rare Washington wolf pack behaving itself. By K.C. Mehaffey, The Wenatchee World.

I haven’t heard any news about the prosecution of the local family that poached a couple of these wolves.

Most of the comments in story are quite positive.

Okanogan-Wenatchee Forest Experiments with Lone Washington Wolf Pack


We did our best, but these Foresters in Washington state are well-schooled in The Way of the Bureaucrat.  Despite the sole known Washington wolf pack’s rendezvous site being at the best, most available water source for public land cattle on the unit, livestock described by Don Johnson as looking feeble and “like bait”, the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest has decided that it wants to experiment with Washington wolves and allow livestock to be put out on top of them to see whether conflict will arise.

Anxiety grows as wolves rebound in Methow Valley  – The Seattle Times

We were able to rattle the cage enough to secure a few conservation measures from the Forest which may help the Lookout pack, including (but not limited to) :

  • During times that cattle are in a unit with den or rendezvous site, the permittee will be required to inspect the area at least twice per week.
  • Sick or injured livestock must be removed from the allotment.
  • “Livestock carcasses on the allotment must be moved from the allotment, destroyed by blasting with explosives, or electric fenced if they would attract wolves to a potential conflict situation with other livestock, such as a salting ground, water source, or holding corral.”

(Emphasis Added)

I would like to take this opportunity to publicly volunteer to help with the blasting.

We were also assured that the Washington wolves would not be “controlled” if a conflict did arise.  Of course, the real threat is the long-term, the threat that the wolves will acclimate to the taste of easy & tender calf, and the local media’s reactionary tendency to put the blame on the wolves.

Let’s hope for the Lookout pack’s sake that we’re wrong.

Washington wolves and cows

For quite some time news of wolves moving into Washington state has excited many wolf supporters and Washington residents.  A couple photos of the Washington wolves.

As is usually the case, news of Washington wolves has also prompted local ranchers’ to kick up controversy and concern that their livelihood won’t be able to compete with these conditions of the natural world – on our public land. Recently, a dead cow was found near Twisp, Washington – and although wolves almost certainly had nothing to do with the kill, invariably – that’s where local media put the attention first.

What are managers doing to protect the Lookout wolf pack ?

The “Lookout pack” resides on the Wenatchee-Okanogan National  Forest.  These wolves migrated from Canada, they are not dispersers from Idaho. One (or more)  Washington wolves has already been killed by a poacher, a local hobby rancher whose family was allegedly caught trying to ship the wolf hide to Canada for tanning into a rug – the mail was identified as suspicious when the wolf’s blood began leaking from the package in transit. That violation of the ESA is still “under investigation” by US Fish & Wildlife Service. Wolves in Washington are still protected under the Endangered Species Act, and are fully protected, not being subject to the 10(j) Rule that allowed for liberal killing of wolves in the Northern Rockies “Distinct Population”.  Conviction of killing a fully protected endangered species (as are the wolves in Washington state) could result in a $100,000 fine.

While individuals may be prosecuted for illegal take of a fully federally protected Washington wolf after the fact, managers whose legal obligation it is to protect wolves and manage public land-use to avoid potential conflict remain largely unwilling to make meaningful changes in lieu of the altered circumstances given the Lookout pack’s recent presence on the landscape.

Read the rest of this entry »

Poachers kill wolves from Washington state’s first pack

Group calls for the arrest and prosecution of the suspects-

Two of the members of Washington State’s first known wolf pack have been killed by poachers. The suspected poachers are known and live in Twisp, Washington.

The wolf pack lives outside of the area where the federal government is trying to delist wolves. They are fully protected by the Endangered Species Act. Penalties are potentially very severe.

Update 3/28: Bloody pelt in shipping box tips agents to wolf killing; ranching family’s homes searched. By Warren Cornwall. Seattle Times environment reporter. The Times says the suspects are an “outspoken anti-wolf rancher” and his son.

Addition 4/1. Washington States does have have a draft wolf conservation plan to back up the federal endangered species act. Download PDF 3.1 MB

Addition 4/2. Feds looking at three Twisp locals in wolf kill incident Methow Valley News

Here is a news release by Conservation Northwest.

– – – – – – –

Mitch Friedman, Executive Director, Conservation Northwest: (360) 671-9950 ext. 13; (360) 319-9266 (cell)
Jasmine Minbashian, Special Projects Director, Conservation Northwest: (360) 671-9950 ext. 29; (360) 319-3111 (cell)

Poachers kill wolves from Washington’s first pack

Conservation Northwest calls for immediate arrest and full prosecution

Twisp, WA – A search warrant obtained from the Okanogan County District Court reveals that Bill and Tom White, residents of Twisp, are suspected of illegally trapping and shooting two endangered gray wolves and attempting to send a wolf pelt to Canada.  An employee of a FedEx drop off facility in Omak became suspicious after a woman, believed to be Tom White’s wife, dropped off a package that was leaking blood.  Authorities found inside the bleeding package what appeared to be an unlawful, unprocessed, and untanned pelt of a young gray wolf – a federally and state-listed endangered species.

Read the rest of this entry »

Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Interagency Annual Report

All 3 states and the FWS reports available.

Wolves in Central Idaho © Ken Cole

Wolves in Central Idaho © Ken Cole

The annual reports of all three of the recovery states have been released. There is a wealth of information in these reports about various packs.

The minimum estimate of wolves in the three states is 1645, a 9% increase over last year.

In Idaho there are 846 wolves, a 16% increase.
In Montana there are 497 wolves, an 18% increase.
In Wyoming there are 302 wolves, a 16% decrease.

You can view the reports here:
Rocky Mountain Wolf Recovery 2008 Interagency Annual Report

Salazar’s Wolf Decision Upsets Administration Allies

Salazar’s failure to consult POTUS gives new Administration a headache (as it should)-

Salazar’s Wolf Decision Upsets Administration Allies
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post

It appears that Salazar wasn’t interested in consulting anyone but the Bush Administration personnel and some other agency folks for the “good science” they have already “produced”.
He only consulted governors with less than favorable attitudes on predators, wolves in particular. He had no intention of hearing anything other than what he wanted to hear to make this decision.

Fortunately, not everyone in our halls of governing agree with him. Perhaps due to the fact that they are not ranchers.  He didn’t seem to think that his boss needed to be consulted either, even directly following commitments by Obama himself to uphold the ESA and scientific integrity in speeches within 48 hours of announcing this “Friday night” ruling.

Perhaps the same comments on commitment to scientific integrity made by Obama on stem cell research should be applied to the ESA and wolves.

Can Wolves Restore An Ecosystem?

This seems to be a reasonable conclusion made by Dr. Bechta and Dr. Ripple who studied the Lamar Valley’s rehabilitation of cottonwood and willow following wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone NP. These researchers feel that wolves, if returned to the Olympic Peninsula, would help restore the flora as well as a balance in the fauna in the national park. They claim that elk are an obstruction to forest health by feeding on the young trees which appear to be unable to thrive there.

Can Wolves Restore An Ecosystem?

Howl boxes help tracking wolves in Selkirk Mountains [Washington State]

Howl boxes’ help tracking wolves in Selkirk Mountains. By Becky Kramer, The Spokesman-Review

News on the Washington state wolf pack

Pack immigrated from British Columbia-

We have followed the story of Washington’s first wolf pack for about 6 months now. Here is the latest.

These wolves did not migrate into Washington state from the reintroduced wolves in Idaho.

Lookout Pack returns to lower elevations. By Joyce Campbell. Methow Valley News.

Posted in Washington state wolves, Wolves. Tags: . Comments Off on News on the Washington state wolf pack

For the first time North Cascade signs warn hunters not to shoot wolves

Warning wasn’t needed in the past because presence of wolves was unknown-

North Cascade signs warn hunters not to shoot wolves. AP. Seattle Times. “With deer hunting season opening Saturday, the state is putting up signs in the Methow Valley to warn hunters that federally protected wolves may be in the area and should not be killed.”

Folks may recall that the first verified wolf pack in Washington State was found this year near Twisp. It is closely monitored. There may be other wolves in NE Washington.

Ron Judd: My heart leapt a little. In a good way, one I almost had forgotten. Seeing those six wolf pups last week

Ron Judd. Seattle Times columnist writes about Washington’s wolf pack.

The Methow’s “Lookout Pack,” as it’s being called, is the first verified litter — emphasis on “verified” — in this state since the gray wolf was hunted to extinction in the 1970s. But the pack, living in the hills above Twisp, Okanogan County, probably isn’t the only one.

DNA tests confirm captured canids in Washington are wolves

The good news has now been confirmed.

DNA tests confirm wild gray wolves in Okanogan Co.. Associated Press (as printed in Idaho Statesman).

Update: there are 6 pups. So a North Cascades pack of 8 wolves!

Update: there are photos in this story. Long-absent wolves denning in Washington. Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

Washington wolves are confirmed. Two are captured

WA biologists capture two wolves. “Washington state Fish and Wildlife biologists and wolf experts from Idaho captured what they believe are two wolves Friday in western Okanogan County, a development that could confirm the first wolf pack in Washington since the animals were eradicated decades ago.” By Shannon Dininny.  Associated Press Writer.

– – – – – – –

More great news! What appear to be native wolves are now confirmed in Washington state. DNA testing is being done, but it is unlikely there are hybrids. One wolf is lactating. These animals are not near by the Idaho border, but in north central Washington state.

Howls in Okanogan area signal of wolves’ return?

Wildlife managers are excited by more evidence of a wolf pack in Washington on the west side of Highway 97 ~ still federally protected.

Howls in Okanogan area signal of wolves’ return? Seattle Times

More evidence of wolves in Washington state

Wolves may be returning to Washington state. One or more packs of gray wolves may be living in north-central Washington’s Methow Valley, which would make them the first resident population… AP in the Seattle Times.

Despite the yanking of endangered species status from any wolves in NE Washington under the recent delisting of of wolves in the Northern Rockies, these wolves are in north central Washington and would receive full endangered species status. Moreover, the may have migrated down from B.C. on the own.

State of Washington prepares to return of wolves

Washington prepares for wolves’ return. The state won’t introduce the animals, but wants to be ready when they arrive. By John Trumbo. Tri-City Herald.

One good thing about this plan is that as the wolf population builds up in NE Washington (where they are expected to enter the state), after 5 packs the wolves would be trapped to distribute them across the entire state.

Update. Here is an AP story on Washington state wolves that goes beyond ranchers as the source of information. Washington State Prepares for Return of Wolves. AP

In fact, Kim Holt, our Wolf Recovery Foundation secretary-treasurer, is one of the volunteers sitting on this state wolf committee.

Wolf de-listing: A look at both sides of the issue

Wolves remain protected in Washington

Wolves remain protected in Washington. The Omak Chronicle.

Despite delisting, wolves remain protected by state law in Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington. In Western Oregon and Washington, they remain protected by federal law too. The drawing up the boundaries for delisting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service went out of their way to move them far from where almost all of the Northern Rockies wolves lives.

The most reasonable explanation for this is they wanted to make wolf recolonization of Utah,* Oregon and Washington by natural dispersion to be as difficult as possible. Actions by Oregon and Washington hopefully will defeat their anti-wolf objectives.

– – – – –

*They moved the delisting boundaries from the Utah/Idaho line way down to central Utah.

Wolves back in Washington

Officials are reporting the presence of a wolf in Washington. This from the Seattle Post Intelligencer.

SPOKANE, Wash. — A calf in northeastern Washington was killed by a wolf, proving the endangered species is once again within the borders of Washington after being killed off decades ago, wildlife officials said Friday.

Public meetings, comment period scheduled on Washington State’s wolf plan

Here is a news release from the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildife

Citizens can comment on gray wolf management in Washington state, during public meetings Aug. 14-23, and in writing through Aug. 31. 

The series of public “scoping” meetings is being held by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and an 18-member citizen working group that is advising WDFW on development of a draft wolf-management plan.

“This public comment opportunity is intended to ensure that we receive a full range of citizen views as we develop a conservation and management plan for the gray wolf,” said Rocky Beach, WDFW wildlife diversity manager. 

While the state will not re-introduce wolves, the species is expected to re-establish in Washington on its own as wolf numbers increase in neighboring states and Canada. 

Read the rest of this entry »

Wolves may return to Eastern Washington state

This article in the Olympian says Wolf population growing in Eastern Washington. By Chester Allen. The Olympian. That is an exaggeration, but wolves could show up at any time and Washington state is developing a wolf management plan.

Report on the Spokane wolf hearing

Wolf delisting draws a large crowd at public hearing. By N. K. Geranios. Magic Valley Times News

” ‘Many in the crowd wore buttons saying “More Wolves Less Politics,’ provided by Defenders of Wildlife.”

– – – –

More on the hearing. . .  Bristling kept under control at wolf talks. About 200 attend meeting about taking animals off endangered list. James Hagengruber. Spokesman Review

Extra security planned for Spokane meeting on wolves

This story is from the Spokane Spokesman Review.  Was there extra security at the other delisting meetings.

Link to “Extra Security Planned.”  By James Hagengruber.

Note: the Spokesman Review  is a link unfriendly newspaper. Hope the link above continues to work, at least for a while.

Utah wolves are in line to lose protection in the delisting

Technically there aren’t any wolves in Utah, although there really are probably a few in northern Utah. Nevertheless, Northern Utah was included in the Northern Rockies wolf delisting.

So was Eastern Oregon and Eastern Washington. All these places would highly likely to see wolf in-migration.

I can see only one reason for this — it’s to prevent the recolonization of any adjacent Western States by wolves.

Article in the Salt Lake Tribune. Utah wolves are in line to lose protection. But technically there aren’t any. By Joe Baird

Interior Department Announces Delisting of Western Great Lakes Wolves and Proposed Delisting of Northern Rocky Mountain Wolves

As expected, today the Department of Interior announced the proposed delisting of wolves in Idaho and Montana, but not Wyoming because of their failure to come up with an adequate wolf conservation plan.

Flat-out delisting of wolves in the Great Lakes States was announced.

Here is the news release wolfnrs012907.pdf

Update 1-30-2007. Feds to delist wolves. Jackson Hole News and Guide.

Howls and prints indicate return of wolves to Washington State

“Although there’s no evidence a wolf pack is living in the state [the state of Washington], experts say it’s just a matter of time. To prepare for the return, the state has formed a panel of 18 hunters, ranchers, environmentalists and biologists to help write a wolf management plan.” Rest of the story in the Times-News.

Nevertheless, wolf prints are now being seen frequently in NE Washington, and howling is heard.

The Wolf Recovery Foundation is pleased to announce that Kim Holt, a member of our Board of Directors, was appointed to the new Washington state wolf panel.

Washington State wolf plan working group is selected

In anticipation that wolves from Idaho and/or British Columbia will disperse to Washington state, “Eighteen citizens have been selected as members of a working group to guide the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in developing a plan for conservation and management of gray wolves that are expected to make their way to” the state.

Here is the news release. I should note with pride that Kim Holt, the Wolf Recovery Foundation’s secretary/treasurer is one of the 18 folks selected.

Here is the entire news release.

The working group members are:
§ Daryl Asmussen of Tonasket, cattle rancher
§ John Blankenship of Tenino, Wolf Haven International executive director
§ Duane Cocking of Newman Lake, sportsman
§ Jeff Dawson of Colville, cattle rancher
§ Paula J. DelGiudice of Seattle, sportswoman, National Wildlife Federation Western Natural Resource Center director
§ Gerry Ring Erickson of Shelton, former Defenders of Wildlife Washington state field representative
§ Jack Field of Ellensburg, Washington Cattlemen’s Association executive vice-president
§ George Halekas of Deer Park, retired Forest Service biologist
§ Kim Holt of Snohomish, Wolf Recovery Foundation secretary-treasurer
§ Derrick Knowles of Spokane, Conservation Northwest outreach coordinator
§ Colleen McShane of Seattle, consulting ecologist
§ Ken Oliver of Newport, Pend Oreille County Commissioner
§ Tommy Petrie, Jr. of Newport, Pend Oreille County Sportsmen’s Club president
§ John Stuhlmiller of Lacey, Washington Farm Bureau assistant director of government relations
§ Arthur Swannack of Lamont, Washington Sheep Producers president
§ Bob Tuck of Selah, consulting biologist, former Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioner
§ Greta M. Wiegand of Seattle, retiree, outdoor recreationist
§ Georg Ziegltrum of Olympia, Washington Forest Protection Association wildlife biologist

“This is a diverse group of people representing a wide range of interests that could be affected by future resident wolf populations in Washington,” said Jeff Koenings, PhD., director of WDFW. “We selected individuals who have a track record of building consensus.”

A total of 56 people submitted applications or were nominated for the working group.

Although gray wolves were largely eradicated in Washington by the 1930s, sightings have increased since federal wolf-recovery efforts began in Idaho and Montana in the mid-1990s. The success of those efforts has prompted the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to propose removing gray wolf populations from the federal list of endangered species in three states and parts of four other states, including Washington.

“If gray wolves are removed from federal species protection status, Washington and other western states will have primary responsibility for managing their wolf populations,” Koenings said. “We need to prepare for that possibility by developing a conservation and management plan that works for people and wildlife.”

The gray wolf is also designated as a state endangered species in Washington, so the plan must identify population objectives and appropriate conservation and management strategies, as well as addressing wolf management in Washington after the species is removed from the federal list of endangered species.

The working group will convene next month and will meet approximately every other month over the coming year. A draft plan is scheduled for completion by Dec. 30, and will be followed by a public review period. The final plan is expected by June 30, 2008.

A separate technical advisory group of biologists from state and federal agencies also will be formed to provide information and expertise to the citizen working group.