Out of Control Wolf Population
I’m Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Ranchers in Stevens County and Ferry County have had a rough time of it when it comes to wolf depredation. Washington Farm Bureau has long been a supporter of farmers and ranchers right to protect their livestock from wolves. Washington Farm Bureau’s Tom Davis.
DAVIS: It was John Stuhlmiller’s work for the Farm Bureau on the initial wolf working group that developed the wolf conservation and management plan that we have today. And the reason I say it’s foundational is if it wasn’t for that plan the Department would not have the ability and the authority to lethally remove wolves in the areas that have been federally delisted.
To date Washington’s wolf population is estimated at 52 and concentrated in the northeastern corner of the state.
DAVIS: They knew that was a low-ball - they being Fish and Wildlife - that it’s likely to actually been probably double that number. And you know they found another pack; and they think there’s potentially a second one that’s formed that they are now just recognizing. So that’s the type of process we’re going to see with the wolf population; it’s going to continue to increase. So therefore, there will be more interaction between wolves and sheep and cattle operations; and so we need to have a mechanism to remove wolves that become habituated to going after livestock.
We’ll talk more with Davis tomorrow about possible steps that need to be taken to provide a barrier between wolves and the livestock operator.
That’s Washington Ag Today.
I’m Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.