Four Washington State legislators are crafting a letter questioning the State Department of Fish and Wildlife’s decision to support federal delisting of the gray wolf.
One of the four, Senator Kevin Ranker, said he was shocked a state agency would advocate dropping federal protection of wolves when a recent poll shows the vast majority of Washington State residents support it.
Wolves are currently protected under both the state and federal endangered species acts.
State Fish & Wildlife Director Phil Anderson argued the state protection is more than adequate and the federal listing only gets in the way of Washington State’s approved plan for wolf management. He said he has clearly stated on several occasions that WDFW supports federal delisting but is committed to protecting wolves until they fully recover in the state.
Ranker said he can find no evidence WDFW tried to gather public input before sending a manager to a hearing in Washington D.C. to formally support the delisting.
Anderson said the state has developed a comprehensive protection plan scientifically based on the state’s unique wolf population.