State will manage for long-term, sustainable wolf population
OLYMPIA, Wash. (Dec. 5, 2011) – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the state’s final wolf recovery plan on Saturday, charting a course toward the long-term sustainability of its growing wolf population.
The following is a statement from Suzanne Stone, Northern Rockies representative for Defenders of Wildlife:
“The approval of this plan is a clear reflection of broad public support for the return of wolves to the landscape. Washingtonians recognize that wolves play a vital role in maintaining healthy ecosystems and can provide an economic boon through wildlife tourism. The Washington Wildlife Commission is to be commended for taking this important next step for wolf conservation.
“The plan strikes a reasonable balance between protecting the state’s nascent wolf population and addressing potential conflicts with livestock. Above all, the plan will ensure the continued recovery of wolves across the state as well as the long-term future of a healthy, sustainable wolf population.
“The return of wolves to the Northern Rockies has been an incredible conservation success story, and the state of Washington is now helping to write the next chapter. Wolves are making a comeback in Washington today thanks to more than 15 years of dedicated efforts by Defenders of Wildlife and others who made the historic reintroduction of wolves possible.”
Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife began developing their wolf recovery plan in 2007, and the state’s first breeding pair was documented in 2008. As of July, there were five distinct wolf packs in Washington, including one breeding pair. The wolf plan provides for the recovery of at least 15 breeding pairs (an estimated 97-361 wolves) spread across three regions of the state. The plan also includes provisions to compensate ranchers for confirmed and probable livestock losses and prioritizes nonlethal management strategies in the early years of recovery.