Officials with the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife are investigating the fatal poisoning of six endangered gray wolves in the state’s northeast, officials said Monday. Bounties of over $51,000 have been offered for information on addiction.
The investigation began in February when authorities discovered four dead wolves in a wedge pack in Stevens County, about 65 miles northwest of Spokane. According to the agency’s news releaseWithin a month, authorities found two more dead wolves.
All six wolves died from ingesting poison, officials said.
Packs were known to cause problems. In July 2020, the parties concerned Kill an adult female member of packs that repeatedly preyed on cattle on public and private pastures.more wolves were deadly Removed next month.
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
A group of eight organizations, including the Northwest Animals Rights Network and Washington Wildlife First, are offering a total bounty of $51,400 for information leading to a poisoning conviction.
Paula Swedeen, policy director at Conservation Northwest, said, “Even if the state intervenes to respond to looting using publicly funded deterrence, someone has no choice but to do so.” It is very disturbing that the situation I am feeling still exists.” provide rewards, said in a news release“We need to find a solution that allows wolves to live in this wild country without constant threat of death.”
Zoe Hanley, a wolf biologist at Defenders of Wildlife, another organization assisting the investigation, said: Said addiction was a ‘tragic and unnecessary loss’ to the state’s wolf population. “This despicable act goes against the dedicated efforts of biologists, policy makers and ranchers working to restore and coexist wolves in Washington,” she said.
Under state law, wolves are listed as an endangered species and are protected in the western part of the state by the Federal Endangered Species Act. Officials said there were at least 206 wolves in the state by the end of 2021. The results of next year’s year-end census will be announced in the spring.
Killing a wolf illegally carries a maximum penalty of one year in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
Late last year, Oregon officials asked the public for help in solving a case similar to the poisoning deaths of eight wolves. .
Discussions about wolf protection and management across the United States date back nearly 50 years, when wolves were first protected by the Endangered Species Act of 1973.
Gray wolves regained federal protection in most of the 48 contiguous U.S. states in February, following the Trump administration’s 2020 decision to remove wolves from the endangered species list.
After the gray wolf was delisted, some states, especially Wisconsin, saw a spike in wolf hunting, with hunters killing more than 200 in less than three days.
Before the arrival of European settlers, gray wolves thrived in forests, prairies, mountains, and marshes across North America. However, two centuries of eradication campaigns have decimated the populations of 48 mainland states, leaving about 1,000 people south of the Canadian border by the mid-20th century.
Populations recovered after the species was placed under federal protection. In 2020, there were about 6,000 wolves in the western Great Lakes and northern Rocky Mountains, with smaller numbers in Oregon, Washington and California.