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Washington State Faces Backlash On All Sides Over Wolf Killings

WDFW map of wolf packs in Washington state as of June 2016.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
WDFW map of wolf packs in Washington state as of June 2016.

Wildlife managers in northeast Washington are removing a wolf pack known as the the Profanity Peak Pack following a number of cattle kills. The state faces opposition from tribes and pressure from locals as they proceed.

Cowlitz tribal elder Roger Dobson said the extermination of the pack violates Native American treaty and religious rights.

“Our sacred animals are our religion,” Dobson said. “They are a part of us they are a part of our beliefs.”

Dobson’s advocacy group ‘Protect the Wolves’ consulted a tribal attorney who says the state must find consensus with tribes. The group also sent a cease and desist letter to Donny Martorello, the state’s wolf policy lead.

Martorello said the pack removal “is [not] counter to treaty rights.” He also rejected a resolution passed by Ferry County commissioners that authorized the sheriff there to remove wolves if the state did not.

“We have some concerns,” Martorello said. “That’s not consistent with state law.”

That resolution is under review in the state attorney general’s office.

Copyright 2016 Northwest News Network

Emily Schwing
Emily Schwing comes to the Inland Northwest by way of Alaska, where she covered social and environmental issues with an Arctic spin as well as natural resource development, wildlife management and Alaska Native issues for nearly a decade. Her work has been heard on National Public Radio’s programs like “Morning Edition” and “All things Considered.” She has also filed for Public Radio International’s “The World,” American Public Media’s “Marketplace,” and various programs produced by the BBC and the CBC. She has also filed stories for Scientific American, Al Jazeera America and Arctic Deeply.