Managing An Apex Predator
I'm Lacy Gray with Washington Ag Today.
Despite non-lethal wolf management efforts, ranchers in Northeastern Washington have suffered severe setbacks this year due to wolf depredation. During two recent meetings held with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife ranchers expressed their frustrations over what they perceive as inadequate wolf management efforts by Fish and Wildlife. Washington rancher Jack Field.
FIELD: One of the big problems that we run into is the fact that we are still dealing with a state listed animal. The benefit is that they're federally delisted in 1/3, which gives the Department of Fish and Wildlife the ability to use lethal force under our rough management plan. But when the Department goes through - even after they check all the boxes and can document that all the steps have been taken to prevent or mitigate impact - whenever lethal force has to happen it always becomes a very divisive and explosive discussion politically and socially.
Fish and Wildlife dealt with severe livestock depredation issues tied to the Huckleberry Wolf Pack with the lethal removal of one of that pack's adult females. Fish and Wildlife also approved the capture, spaying and release of a Ruby Pack female, which had become habituated to domestic dogs and human activity. This animal was later struck by a car and killed. Field expresses his thoughts on what should be done moving forward.
FIELD: The Department really needs to focus and spend their time and energy educating the general public about what wolf management is and what it takes to manage and recover an apex predator - meaning the Department needs to make sure the public clearly understands that when you're recovering wolves you have to be able to successfully remove problem wolves.
That's Washington Ag Today.
I'm Lacy Gray on the Ag Information Network.