Wolf management cost Washington over $1.4 million in 2021
Last year, Washington spent over $1.4 million on wolf management strategies. The total was presented during a recent Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting, noting that the amount spent in 2021 ($1,421,393) was just a bit lower than what was spent on wolf management and recovery in 2020 ($1,554,292).
Generally, the majority of the money went towards wolf management and research activities ($1,062,952) with the additional monies going toward 30 livestock producers ($111,649) for nonlethal conflict prevention activities like range riding, specialized lighting and fencing; 23 contracted range riders ($205,969); four claims of livestock loss due to depredation ($20,866) and $19,957 for lethal removal in response to livestock depredation, according to The Chronicle.
In Washington, during the 2021 annual survey, state and tribal biologists counted about 206 wolves in 33 packs, documenting an increase in overall wolf population over the last few years despite 30 wolf deaths in 2021 due to depredation, tribal hunting, vehicle collisions and two deaths still under investigation, according to the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management 2021 Annual Report.
“Although wolf-livestock interactions have remained consistent, we recorded the lowest number of livestock depredation incidents in the state since 2017 and removed the fewest wolves in response to conflict since 2015,” said state wolf coordinator Julia Smith.
“We’re committed to promoting the proactive use of nonlethal deterrents to minimize wolf-livestock conflict, and proud to demonstrate that our approach is working thanks to the dedication of livestock producers, non-governmental organizations assisting directly with livestock monitoring, and WDFW staff.”
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is currently reviewing the state’s wolf population and accepting public comment on the lethal removal policy in place.
“The population projection model predicts a sustainable wolf population in Washington into the foreseeable future under multiple scenarios, including current management, regulated harvest, disease outbreaks, decreased immigration and some increase in removals,” said WDFW Commissioner Kim Thorburn. “Further, wolf-livestock conflict continues to result in few removals compared to other states, which can probably be attributed to our state's good work on nonlethal deterrence.”
Wolves are protected within the state: in the western two-thirds, they are federally protected, and in the eastern third of the state, wolves received state protections.
To read the full report, click here.