The Capitol Record

Meetings to address state’s wolf management

Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Photo courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Three meetings are scheduled this week around the state to discuss the recovery and management of the state’s gray wolf population.

The reintroduction of wolves has been a hot topic in the northeastern part of the state, where the Department of Fish and Wildlife killed off a pack last year because of attacks on livestock.

The elimination of the pack has led to debate among legislators about the future of wolf management.

Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, told the Capitol Press he plans to propose legislation to relocate wolves into Western Washington closer to their supporters.

“When there’s problems with wolves in one part of the state, they could be re-located to another part of the state that really should be able to share the benefits of wolves,” said Kretz told the paper.

Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, who has expressed concern over the pack’s elimination, has promised to call a hearing on the pack’s elimination in the Senate’s Energy, Environment and Telecommunications Committee.

Wildlife officials have said there must be 15 breeding pairs of wolves among three state regions for three years before the state can delist gray wolves as an endangered species.

There are currently eight confirmed wolf packs in the state.

“Wolves are a high-profile species that attract considerable public interest from people who often have opposing views,” WDFW game manager Dave Ware said in a news release.

The public meetings are scheduled for Wednesday in Spokane Valley, Thursday in Olympia, and Friday in Seattle.

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