SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The state of Washington has canceled a series of wolf-related meetings, saying it fears they might be accompanied by violence.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the cancellations at a Wolf Advisory Group meeting on Tuesday.

The department is planning for a time when wolves are no longer a protected species, and public input is necessary for that process.

But the agency says it cannot assure the safety of the public or its staff if the meetings are held.

The return of wolves to the state from surrounding areas in 2008 has led to numerous conflicts between the animals and livestock producers, especially in northeastern Washington state. Agency officials told The Spokesman-Review they started to see Facebook posts threatening violence.

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