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75 representatives, senators call for full delisting of gray wolf

Two wolves were photographed last March with an elk carcass in Pitcher Canyon, about six miles south of Wenatchee.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife


Two wolves were photographed last March with an elk carcass in Pitcher Canyon, about six miles south of Wenatchee.

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— Two of the four elected officials representing North-Central Washington in the nation’s capitol were among those signing a letter today calling for removal of the gray wolf from the endangered species list.

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Richard Doc Hastings

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Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Reps. Doc Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rodgers both signed the letter – along with 73 other members of congress – sent to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe. U.S. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell did not.

Hastings heads the House Natural Resources Committee and represents part of Okanogan County in the 4th Congressional District.

McMorris Rodgers represents Ferry and part of Okanogan counties as the 5th Congressional District congresswoman.

“The full delisting of the gray wolf is long over due,” the letter said.

The letter supports a proposal submitted in June to remove the delist the gray wolf as either “endangered” or “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. It also opposes listing the Mexican wolf as a separate, endangered sub-species. It is the second letter sent to Ashe.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains in 2009 and in the Great Lake region in 2011.

Hastings said the current situation has created a confusing management and regulatory scheme that has left some states – including Washington, Oregon and Utah – in the unsustainable and random situation of having wolves listed on one side of a highway and delisted on the other.

He was referring to U.S. Highway 97 through Okanogan County, where wolves west of the highway are considered endangered and wolves east of it are not even threatened.

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Department of Fish and Wildlife

The map shows wolf packs believed to be found in Washington state as of March 2013.

Overall, Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials believe 14 wolf packs are now present in the state: Teanaway, Wenatchee, Lookout, Hozomeen, Strawberry, Nc'Icn, Boulder Creek, Wedge, Smackout, Salmo, Diamond, Ruby Creek, Huckleberry and Walla Walla.

Only the Teanaway and Wenatchee packs are outside the 4th and 5th Congressional districts. And the Walla Walla pack is the only one not found in the northeast quadrant of the state.

State officials culled the Wedge pack in September 2012 after 17 cattle had been attacked in Stevens County.

“The statutory purpose of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) is to recover species to the point where they are no longer considered ‘endangered’ or ‘threatened,’” the letter said. "The gray wolf is currently found in 46 countries around the world and has been placed in the classification of ‘least concern’ globally for risk of extinction...”

“This is a clear indication that this species is not endangered or threatened.”

The letter expressed opposition to creating a Mexican sub-species.

“Since wolves were first provided protections under the ESA, uncontrolled and unmanaged growth of wolf populations has resulted in devastating impacts on hunting and ranching and tragic damages to historically strong and healthy herds of moose, elk, big horn sheep and mule deer.

“This is why we believe it is critical that you reconsider your decision to list the Mexican wolf as a sub-species…”

The letter also suggests states are better able to manage recovered wolf populations than the federal government.

The full letter can be read online here.

Comments

GloWenatchee 1 year ago

This is half baked and non scientific. Do any of you remember how many Mom's, Dad's, and families died hitting all the deer and elk that were overpopulating before we listed the gray wolf as an endangered species? I do, and there were deaths all year round. The gray wolf has kept those populations in check. The livestock problems have happened since hunting has been allowed and we've ended up killing the older members of these packs so that juveniles who don't have hunting experience have gone to find food in the wrong places. The number of gray wolves in the lower 48 is less than the population of Tigers in the world and they are on the endangered species list. This is all being funded by the Koch Brothers via the NRA and it's garbage. States are not managing the wolf population well at all. Look at some of these trophy hunting web pages... they post pictures of men in white sheet hoods, posing with their rifles and a poor mangled wolf they've shot. They're baiting throughout the year to make it easier to kill them, they're using poison, they even want to use dogs to hunt them. The alpha male and female mate for life. When the pack becomes too populated they kick out those members and handle their own overpopulation. When you destroy a pack/family like this, you take with it valuable genetic information from that pack. The equivalent of taking out an aunt, uncle, and a couple of brothers or sisters out of your family. These are not hunters, these are killers. They kill for killing sake. I hunt for food for my family. I don't just shoot deer to kill them, nor do I fish when my freezer is full of fish. Doc, I disagree with about 75% of what you propose, and same with your female counterpart up here... you guys are so awfully wrong. Why not get a book and actually do some real research on wolves like I have, and like many have and quit listening to those "lobbyists" who fund your campaigns!

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katewk 1 year ago

There is absolutely no reason or excuse to willfully kill and decimate another species. Humanity seems to have grown very little through history and continues along the same path of destruction and hate that has created our lack of respect for the Earth, animals and other human beings. Only when we can become aware enough to see that each creature is able to be free and we learn to respect their habitats as well as our own, will be able to say that we are evolving and growing as a species. The wolf is of utmost import to the balance of the natural world. Unlike humans, the wolf takes down those that are infirm or unable to care for themselves. This is the natural order of our planet. We cannot create what we think is a utopia without regard for others...it will not work. Soon, we will begin to go the way of all of these creatures whose lives we take so casually.

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fisherman 1 year ago

Is this a news story or an editorial? At first glance it appears to be a news story, using the headline of congressional action, but it seems clear to me that the author is simply backing those views, and not seeking any other opinions on an obviously highly-controversial topic. Not my idea of good journalism in the least.

The author cites the de-listing of other populations as a reason to de-list in Washington. This is ludicrous because the other populations were only de-listed only due to political pressure or direct congressional action. The scientists were not recommending it at all.

And the BS about world populations shows no understanding of the Endangered Species Act, which is set up to protect individual populations when they are sufficiently isloated.

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traplive 1 year ago

With the recent news of a new wolf pack near Wenatchee, and others around eastern Washington, we are very near the threshold that WDFW has set to allow a legal hunt. I believe we still need a pack in southwest or sound central Washington and perhaps a few more documented individual numbers, but we're close. Like Montana and Idaho before us, we can sell hunting licenses, wolf tags and hold special area drawings. This will bring money into the state. The Legislators need to read the current Washington wolf management plan, and back off of knee jerk reactions to every report of a wolf kill. It's time to let science, common sense and the agreed to wolf management plan guide us through this new territory.

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