Protecting Wolves in the Northwest

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) unanimously approved the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan on December 3, 2011. This plan determines the way wolves will be managed as they naturally return to Washington from nearby states. NPCA and the conservation community supported the creation and passage of this plan. Finalization of this plan is the first step in a process to reestablish viable wolf populations in the state. NPCA worked tirelessly with other organizations and wildlife supporters from across the state to improve this plan and work toward its acceptance. The final version of the plan provides for the restoration of gray wolves in Washington’s national parks while protecting the livelihood of ranchers and opportunities for sport hunters of elk and deer. Of vital importance to NPCA is the plan’s inclusion of translocation of wolves to areas where the animals may have difficulty migrating naturally. In particular, we support translocation to the Olympic Peninsula because of its prime wolf habitat and importance to a balanced ecosystem.

Unfortunately, the WDFW felt compelled to eliminate the Wedge Pack in the fall of 2012 following several cattle depredations in northeast Washington. This action reduced the number of packs in Washington from nine to eight and lengthened the recovery process. NPCA advocates for the use of translocation to reduce the density of packs in the Northeast and move packs to western area of the states where no packs exist, including Olympic National Park.

NPCA is continuing to monitor the implementation of this plan and defend it during this early phase of application. Check back here for updated information, or visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s gray wolf page.

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