The Canadian grey wolf is not native to Washington and is a much larger, more aggressive animal than the native timber wolf. I was amazed at Ms. Ressler’s strong recommendation that these wolves should be allowed to rapidly expand here (July 24, The Reflector). She laments the recent killing of a wolf that had killed and injured cattle that were grazing on federal land. She failed to mention another confirmed wolf attack on June 12 in Stevens County. Two cows killed. Both were grazing on private leased property. This depredation goes on and on each month. I guess Ressler wants ranch owners to just “suck it up” so we can placate this vicious, dangerous predator until our elk and deer herds and our ranch operations are crippled.
Wolves will eventually totally decimate elk and deer herds here. Wolves have no natural enemies and will grow at alarming rates until their food sources are depleted. Washington’s wolf population is increasing annually at 28% according to the wolf report published by the Department of Fish & Wildlife.
According to the Park Service, the Yellowstone northern elk herds were around 17,000 in 1995, when wolves were introduced, fell below 10,000 by 2003 and in 2013 only 3,915 elk remained. Steve Alder, Director of Idaho for Wildlife, said it would require killing 70 percent of their wolves annually to rebuild elk populations.
The Oregon wolf number in 2017 was 124 wolves. Twelve packs were documented and 11 met the criteria as breeding pairs. Wolves were recently discovered in the northern Oregon Cascades. Wolves were documented on the White River Wildlife Area and the Mt Hood National Forest. The Department investigated 66 reports of livestock depredation by wolves last year.
As these predators continue to rapidly expand we will have increasing human-wolf conflicts. On May 26, 2019, an unmarked yearling female wolf that was most likely part of the Stranger pack was shot and killed when it came out of the forest and turned toward a pair of hikers on a trail at 30 yards. The incident was immediately reported to WDFW law enforcement, who performed an investigation and determined the hikers were within their legal rights to shoot the wolf as they were concerned for their safety.