Seven environmental groups have asked Washington Governor Christine Gregoire to cancel the kill order it has issued for four wolves in the newly discovered Wedge pack, citing a lack of evidence that the animals are culpable in a rash of recent attacks on livestock.
“Without such evidence, killing wolves is not authorized,” the groups wrote in a letter to Phil Anderson, director of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife (WFWD), which on August 20 authorized the killing of four more adult wolves in the pack.
In essence, the conservation groups said, the wolves have not been granted due process. WFWD spokesperson Madonna Luers told the Spokesman-Review that the agency’s director, Phil Anderson, authorized department officers on August 20 to kill up to four wolves over the next several weeks if livestock attacks warranted. The letter was signed by Cascadia Wildlands; Center For Biological Diversity; Defenders of Wildlife; Humane Society of the United States; Snohomish Group, Sierra Club Washington State Chapter; Western Environmental Law Center, and Wolf Haven International.
“The [wolf management] plan specifies a set of requirements that WDFW must meet before it can kill wolves alleged to be in conflict with livestock,” the letter read. “We are deeply concerned that despite the careful crafting of the plan, WDFW is ignoring the language, intent and spirit of these requirements in ordering the killing of up to four wolves.”
Although wolves are still on the endangered species list, it’s permitted to kill them if they threaten livestock. WDFW officials believe wolves from the pack in the state’s northeast corner have killed or injured eight livestock animals since July, the state agency said on its website. The Wedge pack, discovered in June, is the eighth discovered in Washington State.