Wolfwatcher Addresses Washington's Wolf Plan
October 5, 2012
With the entire Wedge Pack being killed as a result of one rancher refusing to recognize wolves returning to Washington state’s landscape, a meeting was scheduled because of the outrage of the public that demanded it. This included an overwhelming effort by our Wolfwatcher supporters. We are at this meeting in Olympia, WA today, Friday October 5th, as YOUR voice. NWC Director for the Pacific Northwest Amy Trenner, along with Executive Director Dave Hornoff, are representing Wolfwatcher at the meeting in Olympia. Here is what we are saying on your behalf:
TO LISTEN TO THE OCTOBER 5, 2012 HEARING AT THE STATE HOUSE IN OLYMPIA, WASHINGTON, PLEASE FOLLOW THIS LINK:
http://www.tvw.org/index.php?option=com_tvwplayer&eventID=2012101005 Testimony by Dave Hornoff, NWC, ( preceded by Mitch Friedman, Conservation Northwest) can be heard at the 1:24:29 mark.)
To: Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission
From: Dave Hornoff, Executive Director; Amy Trenner, Pacific
Northwest Director, National Wolfwatcher Coalition
Date: October 5, 2012
Re: Wolf Management plan; Wedge Pack removal from public land
My name is Dave Hornoff, Executive Director of the National Wolfwatcher Coalition. Also joining me today is Ms. Amy Trenner, a Washington resident who serves as our Pacific Northwest Director. We represent a national, nonprofit organization that educates and advocates on behalf of wolf conservation. I have travelled over 3,000 miles to represent not only a growing number of our supporters in the state, but also to represent our national membership who express grave concern regarding the removal of the Wedge pack from our national forest land.
We view the principles of Washington’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan with high regard. We hold the bar higher and expect better from Washington as compared to what we witness in neighboring wolf-populated states. However, we are greatly troubled by the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife’s recent decision to kill the entire Wedge pack.
While the Commission has several responsibilities, the Department’s mission statement asserts that it is “dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife and their respective habitats.”
As a public agency, the Dept. serves the broad public interest that favor wildlife conservation and the recovery of endangered species. Putting the interests of a particular industry or individual above those broad public values by purposely killing endangered species seems to run contrary to that mission.
Frankly, we believe both the Department and its governing Commission failed the public in these respective missions. We believe the killing of the Wedge Pack was woefully unjustified and does not serve to further wolf recovery – especially when other nonlethal options were available according to the state’s plan. This cannot happen again.
For the past several days, Ms. Trenner and I have traveled throughout the Wedge, Smackout, Teannaway, and other wolf inhabited areas to better understand the dynamics that led to this tragedy. We concluded that work still needs to be done to promote peaceful co-existence partnerships – relationships among stakeholders that strive to protect the natural environments along with responsible management of its human use for public benefit. But we know that there is room for wolves and humans.
Because the Wedge poses particular challenges, there are some nonlethal measures that can be more effective in promoting peaceful coexistence. We expect the state to hold livestock owners to agreements they have made to work with wildlife officials in applying non-lethal practices that prevent conflict with wildlife. We believe altering grazing cycles, the use of full time range riders equipped with telemetry, hazing tools and measures that prevent conflict and killing should be mandatory. We understand many responsible ranchers are already utilizing these tools with much success. Only when all these strategies have proven unsuccessful, should lethal removal ever be considered.
Wolves, like all native wildlife in the state of Washington, should be responsibly managed and conserved according to the best available peer reviewed science. Especially as wolf recovery remains fragile in Washington, it’s critical that the state prioritize conservation, education, and preventing conflict over killing.
Based on significant supporter feedback, many Washingtonians and the vast majority of Americans across the nation support the presence of this keystone species because of its ecological benefits to the natural environment – especially on our public lands. We hope that the obvious flaws in policy and implementation that caused the killing of the Wedge pack are corrected so that all stakeholders can benefit from the healthy landscapes that include meaningful populations of all the native wildlife that belong.
National Wolfwatcher Coalition
Headquarters: (401) 884-2808
cc: Amy Trenner
Pacific Northwest Director