Unexplained wolf deaths in Washington prompt lawsuit

Gray Wolf. File NPS Photo

Gray Wolf. File NPS Photo


Author: Steven Shaw
Date: 11.15.17

The Center for Biological Diversity argues the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) refuses to fully release public records on wolf deaths in the state.

The environmental group is asking for records about the killing of a wolf from the Smackout Pack in the summer of 2017 as well as records regarding the killing of nearly the entire Profanity Peak Pack earlier in 2016.

“The public has every right to know how and why wolves are being killed in Washington,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf advocate for the Center. “Wolves are still in a fragile state in Washington. It’s frustrating that state wildlife officials won’t come clean with the full details on these lethal operations.”

Since 2012, the state has killed 18 wolves, that’s nearly 16 percent of the state’s estimated wolf population.

“Each gray wolf killed in Washington makes state wildlife officials’ lack of transparency all the more troubling,” said Weiss. “The killing of wolves should never be taken lightly, but particularly not while they remain an endangered species in Washington.”

Bruce Botka, a spokesman for the WDFW told the Associated Press the agency has not yet had an opportunity to review the lawsuit and does not comment on the filing of legal issues.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday.

Washington considers wolves to be endangered in the eastern third of the state, however, wolves in the western two-thirds of the state are still considered endangered under federal law. Most of Washington’s wolves reside in the eastern portion of of the state.

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