Gray wolf

A gray wolf

No state has made a bigger monetary investment in managing wolves than Washington. Wildlife managers even went so far as to hire a high-priced mediator in an attempt to find middle ground on key issues involving the apex predators and their impact on ranches.

The idea, as we recall, was for the various parties to develop a relationship based on trust and understanding so the management of wolves could be rationally discussed.

Apparently, some groups didn’t get the memo.

Currently, a few pro-wolf groups are running to court any time the state Department of Fish and Wildlife doesn’t heed their demands. Lately, the atmosphere has gotten so heated that the department called off a series of 14 meetings about how the wolves should be managed.

The reason? Concerns for the safety of those attending. The department didn’t specify where the threats originated, but it needs to be said to those groups: Settle down.

We fully understand that wolves are really important to some folks. That’s fine, but they are also a big problem for some ranchers who for decades have raised cattle in the far corners of the state.

Only after the wolves showed up and became protected under the federal Endangered Species Act did any problems start.

We urge those folks who continue to hyperventilate over wolves to consider this fact: There are plenty of wolves in the world. The government of Canada estimates about 50,000 are in that nation. Of that, an estimated 10,000 are in British Columbia, just north of the border with Washington. In fact, that’s where most of the wolves now in Washington came from.

If people want to see wolves they can head north. It’s only a short drive from Seattle.

Thousands of wolves also live in Alaska, where they have caused problems for wildlife managers for many decades.

Wolves are now a fact of life in Washington. As their numbers increase they should be managed like any other game animal. Ranchers will continue to cooperate with wildlife managers and use non-lethal means of keeping wolves away from livestock.

But when wolves cause problems by repeatedly attacking and killing livestock, they should be culled.

That’s the responsible thing to do.

Recommended for you