Kevin Ranker, the chair of the Washington State Senate committee that oversees The Department of Fish and Wildlife, strongly criticized the killing of the Wedge Wolf Pack this week, saying that the decision to kill the endangered gray wolf pack was a “serious failure.”
Ranker, who chairs the Energy, Natural Resources and Marine Waters Committee, was extremely displeased about the Department’s decision to kill the wolves after they started preying on livestock instead of wildlife in the area, reports Northwest Cable News.
Sharpshooters shot and killed six wolves in the Colville National Forest last week, concluding with the alpha male on Thursday. State Senator Ranker’s letter to the Department outlines his “deep concerns” over the management of the pack, suggesting that the department did not do everything they could to prevent the wolves’ death.
The state has non-lethal guidelines it is required to follow regarding wolf packs, which Ranker stated hasn’t happened. The Senator added that “the mass removal of a pack is not prohibited by the wolf plan, (but) it is at odds with the central process.”
NBC News notes that Senator Kevin Ranker wrote:
“I find it inexcusable that we allowed ourselves to get to a place where killing the entire pack was the necessary decision when other non-lethal options – within the department and with ranchers – were not totally exhausted first.”
He also added that the attacks on livestock by the Wedge Wolf Pack occurred on a ranch that has long been outspoken about the pack’s removal. They also reportedly refused to work with the department on prevention measures that have been “successfully adopted by other ranchers.”
In Friday’s letter, Ranker demanded to know what actions the department took before they authorized the killing of the gray wolf pack, the exact costs it took to kill the pack, and what actions the department will take to avoid the situation being repeated.
Ranker added that he fears the Department’s actions in regards to the Wedge Wolf Pack will be seen by those who oppose wolf recovery as a precedent that proves public pressure can dictate wolf plan implement — including lethal removal.