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PUBLISHED Letters to the Editor By Pacific Northwest CENTER SUPPORTERS

"For Wolves and Humans"
The Wenatchee World, April 6, 2013

The news of two wolves in Chelan County (“Chelan County may have a pack,” March 26) is sure to get a mixed reception, especially in a state like Washington, home to 1.1 million cattle. Personally, I am cautiously optimistic that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will find a balance that works in the best interest of all parties and our ecosystem.

One reason wolves are critical to their ecosystems is because of their predation on ungulates like elk, which spares vegetation from overgrazing, which in turn benefits soil, water and other animal populations. When the ungulates that wolves eat are cattle, however, WDFW must ensure that ranchers are fairly compensated and adequately prepared with nonlethal deterrent methods to prevent future incidents.

In the two years since a lawsuit stopped the state of Oregon from killing wolves, the state’s wolf population has doubled to more than 50. Yet in Wallowa County, home to the majority of Oregon’s wolf-livestock conflicts, fatal wolf attacks on livestock have fallen by 60 percent as ranchers and agencies were forced to rely on nonlethal conflict-prevention methods.

By contrast, in Idaho, where in two years hunters, trappers and state agents killed 718 wolves, the number of livestock killed by wolves increased by more than 75 percent. Since the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service dropped Endangered Species Act protections for wolves in the Northern Rockies, state-sanctioned wolf hunting and trapping has resulted in the killing of more than 1,000 of the region’s roughly 2,000 wolves.

I hope that WDFW will respect the 40-year legacy left to us by the Endangered Species Act by protecting the wolves in our state in a way that works for everyone. I want Washington to have a bright future for wolves and humans alike.

Tony Carr
Ellensburg, Washington

Copyright © 2013 World Publishing Co. 

This article originally appeared here.