Wolf Population Grows Pt1

Wolf Population Grows Pt1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
I'm Bob Larson. Ranchers in four eastern Washington counties are crying wolf ... with good reason. Washington's wolf population now stands at an estimated 115, up from 90 the year before, with a vast majority of them living in the northeast corner of the state in cattle country.

Washington Farm Bureau's Tom Davis is on the Wolf Advisory Group and says there's a lot of pressure from both sides of the issue ...

TOM DAVIS ... "From the livestock operators trying to do all that they can just to protect their way of life and maintaining their family ranch operations. And then you have, on the other side, pushing hard different elements what you might call the conservation community that are wanting, at all costs, to bring wolves into the state and protect them. And it really doesn't impact them financially any. It's more of, for many, it's an emotional issue."

Davis says that's where WAG comes in ...

TOM DAVIS ... "So, you have those pressure points and in the middle, I think, is the Wolf Advisory Group, working with the department to try to chart a course that allows for the ongoing operations of our livestock ranch families as well as a viable wolf population. And so, how do those two co-exist in a way that, again, number one to us, is the economic viability of ranch and farm families."

The Department of Fish and Wildlife reports wolves killed or injured 15 cows, while probably injuring six others and one dog.

Davis says as the wolf population grows, it will eventually spread further across the state, but it's been a slow process so far.

Listen tomorrow for ideas, like de-listing the wolves, that many feel need to happen to help ranchers deal with the growing population.

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