A wolf in the Colville National Forest, west of the Columbia River, a few miles from the Canadian border on the 29th of January, 2012. Image via WDFW
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The director of Washington's Fish and Wildlife Department Friday said he hopes never again to have to order the killing of an entire wolf pack, as happened last month. In Olympia Friday, cattlemen and wolf lovers offered the agency radically different ideas for how to avoid a repeat. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.
A large crowd of people waited hours upon hours to sound off to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. Rancher Bill McIrvin thanked state officials for eliminating the wolf pack that was preying on his family's cattle. He says it's time to remove wolves from the state endangered list so they can be selectively hunted.
"What we would like to see is regional de-listing so that they could be managed more like bear and cougar, which are still there in significant numbers."
McIrvin was preceded to the podium by more than a dozen speakers who expressed sadness and anger at the situation. David Hornoff of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition says more needs to be asked of cattlemen.
"We expect the state to hold livestock owners to the agreements that they have made to work with wildlife officials in applying non-lethal practices to prevent conflict with wildlife."
A new tool the state wants to explore is a chemical "bio-fence" that would repel wolves from grazing areas.
On the Web:
Alpha Male Wolf In Wedge Pack Killed, Ending State Hunt (9/27/12)
Wolf Kills Create Blowback For State, Conservation Group (9/26/12)
Location of wolf packs in Washington state
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