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Field Notes

Covering the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest

January 17, 2013 at 7:00 AM

Wolf recovery in Washington: Seattle briefing with experts

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is convening public briefings to discuss wolf recovery in Washington, including a meeting Friday in Seattle.

wolf.JPG

This wolf was among those killed by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife last summer after the pack was determined to be preying on cattle.

Photo courtesy WDFW

The gathering will be an opportunity to hear experts including Carter Niemeyer, retired wolf specialist from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and author of Wolfer: A Memoir and WDFW carnivore section manager Donny Martorello.

Participants may also put questions to the presenters about wolf recovery and management.

The Seattle meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Magnuson Park’s Garden Room, 7400 Sand Point Way NE in Seattle.

Absent from Washington for more than 70 years, wolves are returning to Washington, with eight packs so far confirmed, and unconfirmed sightings in Kettle Falls in northeastern Washington, the Blue Mountains of southeastern Washington, and in the North Cascades.

Grey wolves live in Washington under a complex set of rules: They are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act west of State Route 97, but not east of it; legally hunted within the Colville Indian Reservation by Colville tribal members, and listed as endangered under state law throughout Washington.

Recovery has been difficult in Washington. Last September, the department ordered the entire Wedge Pack in Northeastern Washington gunned down from a helicopter after the animals were determined to be preying on cattle.

Some, including wildiife bioloigst John Marzluff at the University of Washington, argue killing the wolves was unnecessary: see his op ed published in the Seattle Times.

The meeting will be an opportunity to hear more about the recovery and management of gray wolves in Washington and other western states, the latest information from population surveys in Washington and an update on recovery of the species throughout the West.

For more on the department’s wolf recovery strategy, go online.

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