Livestock producers should be required to exhaust non-lethal methods to prevent wolf depredations before wolves can be killed, a petition to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) requests.

Eight conservation groups filed the petition with WDFW last week, asking the agency to enact rules that sharply limit use of lethal control in response to livestock depredations.

In 2012, WDFW authorized killing seven wolves in the Wedge Pack in northeastern Washington. Conservation groups said the livestock producer who lost livestock had taken little action to protect his stock.

“The killing of the Wedge Pack in 2012 … highlights the need for clear rules to limit the killing of wolves, which remain an endangered species in the state,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer for the Center for Biodiversity, one of the petitioners.

The conservation groups filed a similar petition last year, according to a press release from the Center for Biodiversity. The petition was withdrawn based on a promise from WDFW to negotiate rules to encourage non-lethal measures by livestock owners.

But livestock owners on a committee established to implement the state’s wolf management plan refused to consider the petitioners’ proposals, and the department has indicated it would introduce less-protective rules, according to the press release.

 The filing of the petition on June 6 requires a response from WDFW within 60 days.

Petitioners include Cascadia Wildlands, Western Environmental Law Center, Gifford Pinchot Task Force, The Lands Council, Wildlands Network, Kettle Range Conservation Group and the Washington chapter of the Sierra Club.