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October 29, 2009 

Help shape a future for Washington wolves

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is holding meetings for public input through November 10 on their Gray Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. The draft plan—under development since 2007—provides guidelines for managing wolf populations in our state, dictates how and when wolves may be scared off or killed, and outlines how the state will balance the wolves' needs with hunters and owners of livestock.

Tell WDFW you support a wolf management plan that is strong enough to ensure wolves fully recover—to a population healthy enough to effectively resume their role as top predators in our state's ecosystems. The next local public meeting will be in Seattle November 2, this coming Monday, from 6:30–9:30 p.m. at REI on 222 Yale Ave. N.

If you can't make a meeting, you have until January 8 to submit your comments online at WDFW's Gray Wolf Conservation and Management website. You can also download a draft of the management plan at this website. For a full list of meeting locations and times around the state, visit WDFW's meeting schedule.

The Gray Wolf (Canis lupus) is currently listed as endangered and protected under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in the western two-thirds of our state. They also remain protected as an endangered animal throughout Washington under state law (RCW77.15.120). There are currently no federal or state plans to reintroduce wolves into our state.

Washington's first breeding Gray Wolf pack in at least 70 years was confirmed in western Okanogan County in July 2008, and a second was confirmed in Pend Oreille County in July 2009. The small breeding population of wolves currently in Washington is expected to expand as a result of wolves naturally dispersing from packs in Idaho, Montana and British Columbia. With this expansion there inevitably will be a potential for conflicts between people and wolves.

Your input is important on how WDFW can effectively balance managing the needs of our communities, the needs of the ecologically important Gray Wolf, and the future our wild lands.

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