Wolf, © Ron Paul

Front line update on Washington’s wolves

Good things can happen when people just sit down and talk things out. This week, up to four wolves from Washington State’s Wedge wolf pack were slated to be killed by the state for allegedly preying on livestock. But after my meetings with state officials, I am happy to report that the state agreed to reassess the situation. Even before our meeting, they had already pulled traps and are withdrawing the sharpshooters today.

The state had decided to kill wolves based on assumptions that they were the cause of recent livestock injuries in the area. But I have been assessing wolf livestock kills for more than a decade and the physical evidence just didn’t add up. These injuries looked more like those commonly sustained by cattle grazing on national forest lands. I double checked my assessment with some outside experts and they agreed. So yesterday I took my case straight to the State Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Along with other groups, I met with Director Phil Anderson and his staff and went over our assessment of the evidence. In contrast to many state wildlife officials in the region, he was very respectful and genuinely interested in what we had to say. And he acknowledged that our concerns were valid. We met with the governor’s office as well and they agreed a reassessment was in order.

I walked out of these meetings hopeful that our concerns were heard, but the entire episode reminded me of how collaborative and productive wildlife management can be when everyone respectfully listens to everyone else and lets sound science rule the day. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Governor’s office both deserve appreciation for being willing to listen to the concerns of others and acknowledge the need for further assessment. And a big thank you to our members and supporters who weighed in with state officials, asking them to take a step back, review the science again and spare these wolves. We heard from the governor’s office that they received over 1200 calls from wolf supporters just on Friday alone.

Washington State is a critical player in the ongoing saga of wolf recovery in the Northern Rockies, but lots of work remains. Yesterday’s developments, and the people who made it happen, gave me hope that we are on the right track.

41 Responses to “Front line update on Washington’s wolves”

    • vibeke hansen

      biiiig gretting from denmark- for all wolf help, wolf need help from os, :-)))))))))))))) from wolf lover- and all animal-help

  1. Doraine Shipley

    This is so awesome thank you for all the work you do to save wolves and all animals that need our protection.

  2. Toni Rubin

    Hurray for the State of Washington! Standing up to pressure, armed with evidence has become a dicey business in this era. Proud to stand with the reasonable and reasoning folks of the Pacific Northwest.

  3. Suzanne Stone

    One of the best things that happened yesterday was starting the morning off with the folks at Wolf Haven International touring their facility. We were treated to the chorus of dozens of wolves howling. How could it not be a magical day?

  4. Dori Aravis

    Very good news! Now if only we can convince the other western state governments to take a more reasonable approach to wolves. Also to get Ken Salazar out of the Dept of the Interior!!

    • Patricia Randolph

      YES! Salazar the wolf killing rancher – horrible. Put pressure on Obama now in a tight election year. He needs to hear from us.

      This is just a symptom of the CORE problem – that state agencies are funded on killing licenses and Pittman Robertson. EVEN THOUGH wildlife watchers bring 10-40 times the revenue to state tax coffers HELPING our wildlife – we have no say. We are not organized like hunters with the NRA and the FARM BUREAUS and Rancher coalitions and Safari Head hunters international. We are the majority but the majority has never been involved and has left wildlife in the bloody hands of killers.

      Killing has NOTHING to do with conservation – and is antithetical to saving biodiversity. Pittman – Robertson funds come 60% from home protection and gun collectors, NOT hunters – yet 100% of it goes to enable hunters to kill more and more.

      Imagine if a hunter went into the state agency to buy his kill em all license(s) and found only SAVING licenses – he would be totally disenfranchised and disempowered. That is how it is for the humane citizens – no power. WE MUST ORGANIZE TO TAKE OUR MONEY TO POWER. We have a right and a responsibility to be involved in deciding the fate of our commons, including our wildlife.

      For a LIVING world and saving as many species as we can.

  5. Karen Uyeno

    I’m so glad the Wedge pack is safe now and that all the calls and emails we sent made a difference! Thank you, Suzanne, for meeting with Director Phil Anderson and Gov. Chris Gregoire on behalf of the Wedge pack.

  6. Dixie Roden

    Thank you State of Washington for listening and weighing the evidence presented. Facts are not opinions. Scientific data and hard evidence should always be the deciding factor in the reduction of a species. Your willingness to sit down and listen is above and over what other states have been capable of doing. My dollars will not go to those States. I will make sure any business or pleasure trips I do will be in great states like Washington.
    Thank you wolf activists for presenting the hard facts to soften hearts and minds of all who truly care to listen.

  7. Katerina

    This is absolutely fantastic news! Bless you Suzanne for your hard and great work! Thank God for this amazing organization! Thank you so much on behalf of the wolves! Many hugs!

  8. Mary Wolfe


    • Mary Wolfe


  9. Eva Kiefer

    Your patience,research and instinct, plus the ability to communicate and assess the situation to formulate a direction that is beneficial for wolf survival is invaluable. Great work & how fortunate we all are to have you in the trenches…. thank you

  10. Vicki Perizzolo

    That’s great! Now we just need to evict Ken Salazar and get someone not influenced by ranchers and farmers to protect our wildlife and wild places, we’d be sitting happy!

  11. april Lane

    Maybe WA and OR will handle this wonderful animal differently than my own state (Montana). Next thing? Re-elect O and get rid of Salazar! Start by writing Dan Ashe (US Fish and Wildlife Director.)

  12. Robyn Baker

    This reprieve is great news. Well done to all the people involved in stopping the kill order on this pack. As an Australian intending to visit the State next year, it is now one of my priorities to come to Washington state and with any luck see or hear the wedge pack in their true environment. Washington state has just got back my tourist dollar.

  13. Janet Caruso

    Thank you Suzanne Asha Stone for all your hard work and dedication to defending the wolves, you truly earned your title!
    Thank you Director Phil Anderson and The Governor’s office for acknowledging our concerns and the need for reassessment with regard to the Wedge Pack wolves.
    God Bless you!

  14. Gene Whitten

    I think they just needed to know that a lot of people were watching and they had better get it right!

  15. Marie Hill

    This is wonderful news. one voice can be many when we stick together… Thanks you everyone who did their part You are all amazing people and i am blessed to of been able to share my voice with many otheres… Great work… I am feeling hopeful also and this decission restores my faith in humanity.. we can make a difference..

  16. Sandr Kenney

    Thank you for your tireless efforts to save the wolves. It really does pay off.

  17. Ellen

    Our heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Defenders of Wildlife for meeting with WA Governors Office and Director of Fish and Wildlife for saving the Wedge Pack. Thank you to these folks for listening and changing their decision to not shoot the wolves!!! PTL!

  18. joe

    You guys are ridiculous. If only they could relocate the wolves to Seattle, I’m sure your ideas of cute harmless wolves would change. How about they raise your taxes by 100% to fund some of these wolf studies? The farmers where the wolves live are suffering financially, why aren’t you? If wolves are so great, put your money where your mouth is. Then move your family to their home range and co-exist with them. Let your children play in the yard as wolves circle the property, and sit there doing nothing (cause wolves are nice, right?).

  19. Tim Davis

    I was wondering if there is any news about the alpha female Mexican Grey wolf from the Fox Mountain pack. The last I heard was that she would not be killed but captured. Putting her in captivity does nothing to help these animals get reestablished. Please post any news you may have about her.

  20. Ellen

    Suzanne, I just rec’d this update from WSFW: Doesn’t sound good!
    Please everyone, keep calling the Governor’s Office and WSFW.


    Gray Wolf Update

    Update, August 29, 2012 -State wildlife managers have temporarily suspended their on-site wolf management efforts in Northeast Washington and will re-evaluate next week the effort to remove more wolves from a pack that has persistently preyed on livestock in a remote area of Stevens County known as the Wedge.

    Staff from the Department of Fish and Wildlife did not kill any wolves during a 12-day initiative that began August 18. WDFW staff went to the Wedge, an area bordered by the Columbia and Kettle rivers and the Canadian border, after wildlife managers confirmed that wolves from the Wedge pack were involved in the recent injury of one calf and the death of another in the grazing allotment area of the Diamond M ranch near the Canadian border. Those depredations, in mid-August, brought to eight the total number of injured or dead livestock from the Diamond M ranch since July.

    WDFW staff killed a non-breeding member of the pack on August 7 in an effort to disrupt the pack’s behavior, but that action did not change the wolves’ pattern of attacking livestock.

    Department Director Phil Anderson said today he ordered the latest effort suspended to give the team a break from field activities; to avoid conflicts with Labor Day recreationists; and to allow the department to evaluate what it has learned before deciding on next steps. Anderson said the department will continue to pursue management options to address repeated livestock depredation and may resume the effort to lethally remove wolves from the Wedge pack.

  21. Karen

    Thank you all SO VERY MUCH for meeting with the Governor’s office to plead the case for these beautiful wolves. I called and emailed and it’s such a relief to see that these things work, along with intelligent discussion of the facts. THANK YOU AGAIN for your tireless work for the wolves. I heart you all! xoxoxoxo

  22. joe

    This is wonderful. Hopefully wolves take over and hunters will not be required any longer. It’s a win/win. No hunters and true predators in the wild. Not to mention, the need for guns will be pointless once hunting is no longer a “sport”. Congrats to all involved.

  23. gary

    why can’t your state feed these wolves ? they have to try everything before u kill them ! seems that way about most anything u don’t like it kill it. seems if you have feeding stations for animals they’d back off. they do NEED TO EAT.this is why they kill. not for the hell of it.

  24. Katrina

    Thank goodness, glad the state of Washington is listening and caring and hopefully it stays that way. Now if we can stop the horror of the Wyoming Wolves. I hope that will quickly become a success story too.

  25. Mark B.

    I sent my e-mails and called the governor’s office. I appreciate your meeting with fish & wildlife officials. So much time, money and effort has been put into the Rocky Mountain states. I hope this incident will cause Defenders to spend more of then in our state. We have a population statewide VERY different from that of the mountain states. We WANT our wolves back!

  26. Jesse m

    To the defenders of wildlife great job!!!.To think that someone could actually kill one of these beautiful animals is beyond me.I was reading my local news paper,to read now that killing of wolves in October will begin why? Those responsible for letting this happen I don’t know how you can sleep at night tell your kids you just said ok to the slaughter of the wolve.these animals if stands have no idea what is going to happen to them.

  27. Pauleen

    Wonderful that your organisation exists for endangered animals. keep up your fantastic work god bless you all.xx

  28. Melissa Bahleda

    Hi, does anyone know how to get in touch w/Suzanne? I am a canine behavior expert and recently spent time in Yellowstone observing the packs there, or rather, what is left of them after the hunting. The packs are badly fragmented and many are in chaos . . . I would like to talk to her about my experiences there and if possible, use my testimony to let others know how badly the killing of over 1000 wolves is affecting the entire species’ potential for survival . . .

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