Urge legislative action on wolves

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The Federal Endangered Species Act protects wolves in only Western Washington. Sloppily written RCW77.15.120 adds Eastern Washington to the range of protection for this species. The RCW needs to be amended to reflect only the protection intended by ESA.

The WDFW Draft Plan for wolf management requires a management region be established for Eastern Washington and goes on to require a minimum of two breeding pairs plus a potential of six more breeding pairs in Eastern Washington (listed in the draft as anywhere in the state) to delist the gray wolf from protection under RCW77.15.120. despite the fact that ESA only addressed the species in the western part of the state. The draft plan also provides for translocation of wolves to establish new populations presumably into Eastern Washington since WDFW insists there are no wolves in Eastern Washington.

Please! Ask your legislators to stop the needless introduction and proliferation of wolves in Eastern Washington by amending the existing RCW 77.15.120 to comply with the original intent of the ESA.

The draft plan also seems flawed in the compensation for livestock killed by wolves. Payment for damages to ranchers goes like this: If you are pasturing on a parcel over 100 acres and kills are confirmed you may be compensated twice the value of the animals killed. If you are pasturing on a parcel of 99 acres of land and kills are confirmed you may be compensated only the value of the animals killed. If you are pasturing on a parcel over 100 acres of land and kills are determined as "probable," you may be compensated at full value for each lost animal, but if you are pasturing on a 99 acre parcel you may only receive one half the value of your loss for each kill deemed probable. Ranchers need to act now if this is not acceptable!

Finally for deer and elk lovers: Only after wolves reach "sensitive" status in an Eastern Washington Region, if this RCW is not changed, will wolves be managed to allow survival of local predated deer and elk populations. This means if WDFW has not confirmed at least two but as many as five breeding pairs somewhere in the region, a pack that finds its way onto say, Robinette Mountain, can kill every elk and deer there without respite or relief from WDFW.

This is exactly what happened in Idaho. Sportsmen get active! Call or write your legislator! Get on WDFW Web site and express yourselves.

Bob Martin
Walla Walla

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