We did it! Moments ago, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law a bill banning traps, snares, and poisons on public lands across New Mexico.
The new law—called “Roxy’s Law” in honor of a dog who was strangled to death in a neck snare on public lands—will save untold numbers of native wildlife, including bobcats, swift foxes, badgers, beavers, ermine, coyotes, and Mexican gray wolves. It also will protect recreationists and our companion animals from cruel and indiscriminate traps, snares, and poisons on public lands across the Land of Enchantment.
This monumental victory for wildlife and public lands would not have been possible without you! You wrote letters, made phone calls, shared action alerts with your friends and networks, and generously supported our campaign. Thank you!
We also want to thank all of our partner organizations in the TrapFree New Mexico coalition who have collaborated with us for years to ensure that the cruel decimation of wildlife populations via traps, snares, and poisons ceases on public lands.
A few weeks ago, when Roxy’s Law passed the New Mexico Legislature, the National Trappers Association said this on social media: “The trappers of New Mexico are on the brink of losing trapping. They are doing so because their opponents started the process 10 years ago and have been relentless. This is a 365 day a year conquest for them.”
While “conquest” is a word I would reserve to describe the infinite killing of native wildlife for private profit, the rest rings true.
Thousands and thousands of Guardians like you have been working relentlessly for years to make public lands safer, to protect native wildlife, to better society’s relationship with wildness and nature, and to erase the paradigm of killing wildlife for fun and money.
So, join me in celebrating today’s huge milestone for wildlife and public lands, and rest assured that working together—and with your generous support—we will have more victories like this to celebrate in the near future.
Montana has always been my home, the place where I was born and raised and where my family still lives. Whether you were lucky enough to be born in Montana like me—or discovered Montana later—Montana’s wildness and wildlife leave many awestruck and inspired.
Unfortunately, some Montana politicians want the state to take giant leaps backward when it comes to state “management” of gray wolves. We urgently need your voice!
Four draconian wolf killing bills are incredibly close to becoming law in Montana. The bills would allow trappers to snare wolves, extend the wolf trapping season, place a bounty on wolves, allow every individual with a wolf hunting or trapping license to kill an unlimited number of wolves, allow the use of bait while hunting or trapping wolves, and permit the hunting of wolves at night on private land with the use of artificial lights or night vision scopes.
As if these appalling bills were not bad enough, they would be signed into law by Montana’s Governor Greg Gianforte—who violated the state’s existing regulations when he trapped and shot a collared wolf near Yellowstone National Park in February, according to documents obtained by the Mountain West News Bureau.
According to the Bureau, “Gov. Gianforte killed the adult black wolf known as ‘1155’ roughly ten miles north of the park’s boundary in Park County. He trapped it on a private ranch owned by Robert E. Smith, director of the conservative Sinclair Broadcasting Group, who contributed thousands of dollars to Gianforte’s 2017 congressional campaign. Gianforte violated Montana regulations by harvesting the wolf without first completing a state-mandated wolf trapping certification course. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks issued the governor a written warning, and he promised to take the three-hour online course March 24.”
Whether you’re a Montana resident or a Montana visitor who values wolves in the wild, sign this petition demanding that Governor Gianforte veto these backward and disgraceful bills.
WildEarth Guardians members and supporters have consistently stood with us to defend wolves. You’ve taken action, you’ve spread the word, and you’ve supported our Wolf Defense Fund.
Now we urgently need you to speak up to stop Montana from decimating wolf populations with cruel and unethical wolf killing bills that harken back to an era when people sought to exterminate wolves altogether, and nearly succeeded.
P.S. Are you on Twitter? After you take action, make an even bigger impact by tweeting at Governor Gianforte and the Montana Office of Tourism.
Together, we did it!
Thursday night, after hours of debate—and with the vote in the New Mexico House deadlocked for what seemed like an eternity—the very last vote was cast, passing a landmark bill to ban traps, snares, and poisons on New Mexico public lands by the slimmest of margins, 35-34.
This final legislative step sends Senate Bill 32—called “Roxy’s Law” in memory of a cattle dog who died in a neck snare on public land—to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s desk to be signed into law.
The effort to get these dangerous and indiscriminate devices off public lands in New Mexico has been ongoing for over a decade and we are thrilled to see this tireless work pay off. Despite the many obstacles and fervent opposition, thousands of grassroots activists like you did not give up fighting this long battle on behalf of wildlife, public lands, people, and companion animals in New Mexico.
Thank you all for the support, whether that was in the form of responding to our calls to contact your legislators, writing letters to the editor, sharing social media posts to raise awareness, or making financial contributions to the campaign.
Endless pressure was endlessly applied and Guardians certainly could not have reached this milestone without your actions and your support!
Along with all of you who have chipped in, we want to recognize our partners in the TrapFree New Mexico coalition: Rio Grande Chapter of Sierra Club, Animal Protection Voters, Southwest Environmental Center, New Mexico Wild, Project Coyote, Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Voters of New Mexico, Endangered Species Coalition, Amigos Bravos, Mountain Lion Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, and Sandia Mountain Bearwatch. Strong coalitions of organizations and individuals are crucial in making change happen and we are thankful to be part of such a powerful group of allies.
Once signed into law, this bill will make public lands safer and more accessible, protect critical native wildlife—including the endangered Mexican gray wolf—and inject much needed science, ethics, and respect into how the Land of Enchantment treats animals.
We’re not there yet and we’ll need your help to ensure Roxy’s Law actually becomes law. But for now, we invite all Guardians to join us in celebrating this huge milestone for wildlife and public lands!
It had seemed for the past half century that perhaps the worst of wolf killing was finally over. After centuries of methodic extermination had nearly completely wiped the animals out of the lower forty-eight, government agencies, scientists, and the general public began to see wolves not primarily as threats to private property, but rather, as invaluable ecological assets that stabilized the ecosystems relied upon by many in the West.
In 1974, the gray wolf was one of the first imperiled species to receive federal protections under the newly-passed Endangered Species Act, As wolves were subsequently reintroduced in Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho in the mid 1990s, and thus began migrating to regain their historic range, they slowly began to recover.
A series of recent events across the country make clear this work of wolf recovery has never been in greater jeopardy. In January, the Trump administration finalized the removal of gray wolves from the list of animals protected under the Endangered Species Act and, within a matter of weeks, we witnessed a disturbing new chapter in the nation’s history of needless and irresponsible wolf killing.
In Wisconsin, just a few weeks ago, over 27,000 people applied for an ill-conceived hunt during the wolves’ mating season that, in only three days, left 216 gray wolves dead. Shocked state officials had to call off the hunt prematurely, but not before the three-day slaughter led to 82 percent more wolf deaths than the state had allocated for the entire hunting and trapping season.
Meanwhile, in Montana, a state in which wolves lost Endangered Species Act protections in 2011, not by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the “Service), but by a political act of Congress, the federal delisting emboldened the state to up its efforts to eliminate wolves from the landscape. In the past month, the Montana Senate passed a bill allowing for private bounties for dead wolves and the Montana House passed a bill expanding hunting and trapping seasons (and allowing snares) in an effort to further reduce wolf populations. The traps and snares, which often prolong an animal’s death, are indiscriminate and dangerous not only to wolves but also to non-target species. In a recent six-year period in Montana, for example, at least 350 non-target animals, ranging from mountain lions to pet dogs, were caught in traps. Montana’s recent laws to incentivize and further enable wolf hunting are not simply inhumane, they severely threaten to undo gray wolf recovery efforts and destabilize ecosystems.
These recent activities follow on the heels of a similarly unsettling example of failed state-level wolf management in Idaho, where wolves have also been delisted since 2011. There, over a recent twelve-month period, trappers, hunters, and state and federal agencies killed an astounding 570 wolves, including at least thirty-five wolf pups as young as four weeks old. These wolves, some of whom died of hypothermia in traps or were gunned down from helicopters, represented nearly sixty percent of the total estimated wolf population in the state at the end of 2019. This high number of wolf kills directly reflect the state’s wolf policies: Idaho recently increased the legal limit of wolves an individual can kill in a year to thirty, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game currently funds wolf bounty programs in the state.
Taken together, the examples of Idaho, Wisconsin, and Montana give us all the evidence we need that state-led management does not ensure the protection and recovery of gray wolves.
This horrifying slaughter of wolves in just a few states—based not on science, but on fear and hatred for a long persecuted species—is why WildEarth Guardians has joined a broad coalition of groups across the country to challenge the Service’s decision to delist wolves in court. Wolves have not recovered in the West and the decision to delist them goes against the intent of the Endangered Species Act, which not only mandates the federal government to forestall the extermination of gray wolves but also, crucially, to promote their full recovery. Although this law has played an enormous role in preventing the wholesale loss of gray wolves in the contiguous US, its work to ensure their continued survival and recovery, as these recent examples in Montana, Idaho, and Wisconsin make all too clear, is far from finished.
To let the work of gray wolf recovery go unfinished would be a tragedy hard to tabulate. Gray wolves are a keystone species that play a critical role in the ecological health of their historic range. Being listed under the Endangered Species Act has allowed gray wolves to begin to rebound in the upper Great Lakes region, yet their recovery there does nothing for the populations of gray wolves throughout the West, where the animals remain largely absent or underpopulated in their historic range. For example, in Oregon and Washington, estimates indicate less than 150 wolves in each state while in Colorado, a location in which wolves roamed across all landscapes in the 1800s through early 1900s, has only reported sightings of a handful of lone wolves in the last two years. The example of success in the upper Great Lakes region should not be used to dismantle wolf protections, but rather, to illustrate the continued need for those protections throughout the country where wolf populations remain extremely vulnerable. Only ongoing federal protections, based on scientific data, will guarantee gray wolves a continued and healthy future in this country. To that end, please urge the Biden administration to restore Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves.
As our nation reckons with its story of conquest, recent killing sprees of gray wolves in the remote forests of Wisconsin or the northern Rockies should not go unnoticed. The brutal and bloody history of gray wolves—along with other native megafauna such as bison—in our country is inextricably tied to the larger history of colonization and violence that continues to shape our society. Our country has a deep history of White settlers demonizing the animals in folklore and frontier mythology and equating Native Americans to wolves and other animals within the broader project of colonization. Seen in this light, recent wolf hunts such as what we recently witnessed in Wisconsin are not merely mismanaged debacles, they are part of a much deeper, far more tragic, story. “Wolves symbolized the frustrations and anxieties of colonization,” as historian Jon T. Coleman has written regarding wolf history in this country, “and the canines paid in blood for their utility as metaphor.”
As we are painfully aware, the history of colonization, and of White frustrations and anxieties surrounding colonization, is ongoing. Gray wolves, sadly, may continue to be part of the story. But gray wolves, and the unsound policies and unethical practices aimed at killing them, also present a way to dive deeper into the nation’s history of colonization and violence in search of ways to reconsider a better future. Wolves are “living reminders of colonization,” in Coleman’s words, that “embody an unbroken history of conquest worth pondering and protecting.” As the nation grapples with its history, protecting the gray wolf is not simply about ensuring healthy ecosystems; it is also about preserving a living historical monument to our nation’s violent past and reaffirming a commitment to rise above that legacy of conquest.
While our attention rightfully has been focused on the January 6th insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, the Trump administration has quietly been attacking our country on another front. On January 13th, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agreed to assist the National Rifle Association to recruit and train hunters to shoot wildlife.
It is fitting to ask, why would an agency whose mission is to “preserve and protect” our nation’s wildlife assist the NRA in recruiting more hunters? The answer is simple. The number of hunters in all states have steadily declined since 1982 when they peaked at 17 million. Today only 4% of the population hunts. In contrast some 86 million people participated in wildlife watching, an estimated 20 percent increase just from 2011 to 2016.
Which means those remaining hunters—most of which are white men, including Trump’s own trophy-hunting children—find their political influence declining as well. Growing the number of hunters is a shameless attempt to protect what remains of their influence at the cost of protecting wildlife.
This parting gift to industry is, of course, not an isolated incident. In the period between New Year’s Eve and today, dozens of anti-environmental regulations and decisions have been issued. Among those is one that prevents the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating pollution from the oil and gas industry, another that permits convicted criminals to graze their livestock on public lands, leasing 550,000 acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to the oil and gas industry at fire-sale prices, and others that weaken habitat protection under the Endangered Species Act.
These regulations and decisions continue the trend of enriching the powerful, primarily white men, and locking in the ability of corporations to exploit people and the planet. This pattern began on Day One of Trump’s administration, when public health, safety, and environmental protections all came under attack.
But the pro-hunting bias of Trump’s Interior Department stands out even for what will likely be viewed as the most environmentally hostile administration ever. That’s because the partnership with the NRA is amplified by a suite of other policies that promote hunting at the expense of wildlife. Those policies include the creation of an illegal wildlife council stacked with trophy hunters that allowed more endangered African lions and leopards to be hunted and the most dramatic expansion of hunting in national wildlife refuges ever that will allow more bobcats, foxes, and cougars to be hunted.
It will take years of effort from the Biden administration, Congress, the courts, and ordinary citizens to undo this and the other damage done during the last four years.
There was a time when our nation’s conservation of species and their habitat were actually led by hunters. In fact, the primary reason our national wildlife refuge system exists is the vision, hard work, and funding of hunters. But wildlife policy should no longer be driven by the needs of hunters. Not when more Americans, in urban and rural communities, want to coexist with wildlife—because we believe they are sentient beings with whom we share this planet.
The push to enlist more hunters and elevate hunting across America is a desperate attempt to entrench policies that are hostile to native carnivores, endangered species, and, frankly, almost any species of wildlife that you can’t hunt. Without hunters, the social and political arguments for these policies fade away.
The NRA knows this. Trophy hunters know this. If the number of hunters continues its historic level of decline the social and political arguments for hunters to drive wildlife policy will lack credibility. A desperate attempt to recruit more hunters is one way to preserve their influence.
While I am grateful for the vision and commitment of hunters that contributed to conservation years ago, it’s now time to turn the page on the past. Our nation’s wildlife doesn’t need more hunting, they need less. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service should no more be helping the NRA than the Rebel Alliance should be helping the Death Star.
Finally, I cannot help but see parallels between the pro-hunting policies that primarily promote the interests of white men and the actions of the angry, violent mob that attacked our nation’s Capitol. Much like the number of hunters, the Republican party is keenly aware that their demographic—namely, white people—has shrinking political influence. The voter suppression enacted by conservative state legislatures across the country testifies to this fact. Frederick Douglass wrote that “power concedes nothing without a demand.” We must demand the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service nullify this agreement with the NRA and the suite of other policies that elevate hunting over the needs of wildlife.
As promised, WildEarth Guardians and our allies filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service challenging the Trump administration’s decision to prematurely strip gray wolves of federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) protections across the entire lower 48 states. The notice, filed on November 6, starts a 60-day clock, after which Guardians and our coalition will file a lawsuit in federal court.
The most recent data from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and its state partners show an estimated 4,400 wolves inhabit the western Great Lakes states, but only 108 wolves in Washington state, 158 in Oregon, and a scant 15 in California. Nevada, Utah, and Colorado have had a few wolf sightings over the past three years, but wolves remain functionally extinct in these states. These numbers lay the groundwork for a legal challenge planned by a coalition of Western conservation groups.
“As we’ve seen over the past week, counting and numbers are not a strength of the Trump administration,” said Lindsay Larris, wildlife program director at WildEarth Guardians. “No matter how you try to spin the data, wolves do not even inhabit 20 percent of historic range. This is not true recovery under the Endangered Species Act and a clear violation of the law.”
In delisting wolves, USFWS ignores the science showing they are not recovered in the West. The USFWS concluded that because in its belief there are sufficient wolves in the Great Lakes states, it does not matter that wolves in the West are not yet recovered. The ESA demands more, including restoring the species in the ample suitable habitats afforded by the wild public lands throughout the West. Wolves only occupy a small portion of available, suitable habitat in Oregon and Washington, and remain absent across vast swaths of their historical habitat in the West, including in Colorado and the southern Rockies.
The restoration of gray wolves could be a heroic success story, but it will be cut tragically short if wolves lose further protection under the ESA now. We can’t let fragile wolf-recovery efforts to be stalled and allow states, hunters, and trappers to push the species back to the brink of extinction without a fight. Please support Guardians’ Wolf Defense Fund with a gift today and help us ensure gray wolves have a future.
One other thing you can do is sign this petition urging the incoming Biden administration to immediately take action on January 20 to halt the impending slaughter and begin the process of restoring ESA protections for gray wolves. After you sign, make sure to share the petition with your family, friends, and networks. Thank you!
In a major win for wildlife in Montana, WildEarth Guardians settled our lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services in May, after the federal program agreed to severely curtail its slaughter of native wildlife and the use of cruel tools such as snares, traps, and poisons in Montana.
For those unfamiliar with Wildlife Services, this multimillion-dollar federal program annually kills an average of about 1,500,000 native wildlife species nationally. Relying on taxpayer dollars for its killing campaigns, Wildlife Services often uses costly methods such as “aerial gunning” to launch preemptive strikes on thousands of native carnivores—before there has been any actual conflict with humans or livestock.
In Montana alone, over just the past three years, Wildlife Services has reported killing 152 wolves, four grizzly bears, 52 mountain lions, 18 black bears, 320 foxes and more than 20,000 coyotes.
Wildlife Services has not considered the environmental impacts of its “predator damage control” program since the mid-1990s, and even then, it relied on science that dated to the 1970’s and ‘80’s. And the killing has continued unabated. More current science establishes that lethal management is ineffective at preventing conflict. And the significant impact on ecosystems of such indiscriminate killing of carnivores calls into question the entire program. In the midst of the sixth great extinction, during which species are disappearing at an alarming rate, it is irresponsible and unethical to use indiscriminate and cruel tools to kill wildlife. This is particularly true when coexistence practices exist that are proven to be effective at conflict prevention.
Our May 2020 settlement with Wildlife Services requires a new environmental analysis of the effects and risks of its wildlife-killing program in Montana and, meanwhile, requires the following protections:
No killing in Wilderness areas, Wilderness Study Areas managed by the Forest Service, Wild & Scenic River corridors, Research Natural Areas, or Areas of Critical Environmental Concern in Montana;
No killing of cougars or black bears on any federal lands;
No more M-44s (sodium cyanide bombs) on any public lands, or private lands in 41 of 56 Montana counties;
No more lethal gas cartridges can be used to destroy denning wildlife like coyotes, fox, or prairie dogs on public lands;
Increased public transparency.
Over the last five years, litigation by Guardians and partners against Wildlife Services has resulted in settlement agreements and legal victories in Idaho, Wyoming, California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, all curbing the program’s slaughter of native wildlife and making the program accountable for its activities. And we are not stopping now. Guardians has active litigation against Wildlife Services in Colorado and Idaho, and we are continuing to monitor Wildlife Services’ activities across the West, ready to take on the federal killing program in order to protect vulnerable wildlife.
Montana’s majestic wildlife is part of what makes this state so special. Wildlife Services’ indiscriminate, inhumane, and pointless killing of wildlife cuts against the values of most people. It’s time to bring this killing program out of the shadows, into this century, and start working towards true coexistence with the wildlife that makes Montana wild and wonderful.
When I awoke in the darkness, the first thing I felt was the soreness in my quads and calves. I wasn’t sure if it was the muscle pain or the hunger pains that had woken me. Maybe it was something else entirely—something stirring outside my tent.
That’s what it was—a sound. Not just any sound, but a sound I’d never heard before. At first, it was indiscernible. After a moment, it was unmistakable. Almost like a song. One voice, then two… then three… then, an entire chorus.
I tried to focus, but my damn sleeping bag was making all those crinkly sounds as I tried to settle my body into a comfortable position. When I was finally still, the singing grew clearer—not just the sound, but the echo as well. The echo of wolves—howling in some place that seemed, at once, both far away and very near.
It was the fifth, and last, night of our backpack into the Gila Wilderness. I had been longing to hear those sounds for many years and perhaps, in my wishful greed, to catch a sight of the wolves themselves. My only regret from that night is that I didn’t wake my wife, Terry. But if you knew her particular relationship with sleep, you’d understand.
Weeks later, the wonder I felt that night transformed into sadness and outrage, as I realized those were the howls of the Middle Fork Pack, wolves that roamed the headwaters of the Middle Fork of the Gila River.
I was saddened because I knew both the alpha female and alpha male of that pack only had three legs. Each victims of human cruelty—in one case, a gun shot wound. In the other, a steel trap.
Nevertheless, these incredible animals persisted and persevered for nearly a decade. They successfully raised wolf pups in the wild canyons, pine forests and remote grasslands within and on the edge of the Gila—America’s first wilderness.
In a sense, those of us who care about protecting these wolves are working with one of our legs missing as well.
Seemingly every day over the last four years, the Trump administration has systematically dismantled the environmental safety net. Regardless of who is elected in November, we will be working at a greater disadvantage than we were just four years ago.
But, if we persevere, as the wolves did in the face of adversity, we can still accomplish much. I believe that if we work half as hard as the wolves do, we can accomplish twice as much as we ever have.
We also can each learn something else from the Middle Fork wolves. It’s that there is strength in numbers and that we are more resilient when we look after every member of our pack. There’s likely no way a three-legged wolf could survive on its own, but working together they overcame significant obstacles.
When I think about how many Guardians there are in the world—and by that I simply mean compassionate people who protect the vulnerable—I am heartened by people’s commitment. But I am also aware that we are simply not enough people. We need more Guardians. I want every one of you reading these words to reach out to people you are not convinced share our value of protecting the vulnerable.
You may ask “why?” It’s because there is so much more at stake. It’s not just environmental protection that is being eviscerated, it is democracy itself.
But if we are to ultimately persevere in our quest, whatever it may be, we cannot focus only on the injuries from the past. I can’t imagine the Middle Fork wolves spent a moment in self-pity about their wounds. What propelled them forward was a fierce clarity about their purpose of protecting their pack. What will propel us forward is a compelling vision for the future. A key part of that vision is the recognition that we all share more in common than we usually think.
By focusing on what we have in common, rather than our differences, we can increase the size of our pack. In doing so, we will increase our political power and our ability to advocate on the behalf of the Middle Fork pack and the natural world in general. Doing this will require expanding our circle of compassion.
Perhaps it is naïve, but I believe the practice of compassion can be a compelling force. Many times, I have written about the need for society to expand the circle of compassion to include those who have historically been marginalized—women, minorities, the disabled, and the entire natural world. If we, as environmentalists, can expand our circle of compassion to include new, unlikely allies—I believe we will be more effective in achieving our goals.
Though the Middle Fork Pack sadly no longer endures, I hope their story becomes a part of your story about how we can be more resilient during these uncertain times. Let their story remind us that, with perseverance, we can overcome great obstacles.
Let us remind ourselves that we are members of a pack with room to grow, both in numbers and compassion. With that unified purpose, we will find strength and comfort, from ourselves and from each other, and together we will accomplish great things.
As wildfires burn in parts of California and the Pacific Northwest, we could all use some good news like the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voting to ban wildlife killing contests by a 7-2 vote on September 11, 2020. The ban prohibits wildlife killing contests involving any species that could be killed in unlimited numbers, or without a “bag limit,” including coyotes. This is great news for Washington where, over a five-year span, killing contests resulted in the deaths of over 1,400 coyotes.
Because of wildlife advocates like you, coyotes will be spared from this fate for years to come. A special shout-out to over 2,000 WildEarth Guardians members and supporters who told the Fish and Wildlife Commission to end these cruel wildlife killing contests.
Not only is this win great news for Washington, it represents tremendous momentum in our efforts to end the war on wildlife across the West. Washington joins Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Massachusetts, and Vermont in banning this brutal blood sport. Notably, five of these bans happened in the last 18 months alone—demonstrating strong public support for the ethical treatment of wildlife moving with unstoppable energy throughout the country.
We thank the wildlife commissioners and committed wildlife advocates who demanded an end to these contests across a broad swath of the American West. But our fight isn’t over. Guardians believes that killing contests have no place in our society and envisions a future in which wildlife killing contests are banned nationwide.
Thank you to all who helped drive this over the line in Washington and in other states! Slowly but surely, we are stopping the cruelty and remaking the American West into a hospitable place for native wildlife.
Let’s take a moment to celebrate good news for wolves in Washington! Thanks to guardians like you, our message was heard loud and clear: Washington’s iconic wolves deserve protection and non-lethal management should be prioritized.
During the past two weeks, more than 8,500 of you took action by urging Governor Jay Inslee to approve our appeal for better wolf management rules. On September 4, Gov. Inslee heard you and directed the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission to initiate a new rulemaking process to develop “clear” and “enforceable” measures designed to avoid the repeated slaughter of wolves in the state, which has resulted in 34 dead wolves since 2012.
Rulemaking is a transparent process which allows for public input. The process also requires that the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife consider the use of science-backed, non-lethal measures to deter livestock-wolf conflicts and examine chronic conflict zones where problems have occurred year after year. Washington has the opportunity to be a leader in wolf management and this is an exciting step towards a better future for wolves in the state and across the West.
You and other wolf advocates helped make this victory possible, and your voices will certainly be needed again as we enter the rulemaking process. For today, join us in celebrating this important step toward better rules for Washington’s wolves and know that your continued support and partnership will enable us to keep defending wolves throughout the American West.