The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife is advocating for the continued protection of the gray wolf species, citing significant population growth.
The WDFW announced that the state's gray wolf population has been steadily increasing at an impressive rate of nearly 28% each year since 2008. Notably, no status report on the wolves has been published since their listing as endangered in 1980.
After analyzing 14 years of population growth, the WDFW has determined that the species no longer faces the threat of extinction or meets the state's definition of a threatened species. However, rather than recommending delisting, the department proposes reclassifying the gray wolves to a Sensitive status. This classification implies that the species is currently "vulnerable or declining" and is likely to become endangered or threatened in a significant portion of its range within the state if threats are not addressed through cooperative management. The WDFW emphasizes that wolves remain vulnerable in western Washington and advocates for their ongoing management and protection as a critical step toward recovery within the state.
However, there are differing opinions on this matter. 7th-District State Representative Joel Kretz and 4th-District Congressman Dan Newhouse support delisting the gray wolf species, expressing concerns about the impact of the growing wolf population on rural property owners.
And so...the debate continues...