With at least 126 wolves in 27 packs and 15 successful breeding pairs in Washington, state biologists are starting to plan for wolves once the population is considered recovered.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is soliciting input on a multi-year plan for managing and conserving wolves. The department is currently in the “scoping” phase, where members of the public are invited to tell wildlife officials what issues should be addressed in the environmental impact statement for the post-recovery plan. Post-recovery is when wolves are no longer considered endangered or threatened.
“Although it may be a few years before meeting wolf-recovery goals, we want to proactively start the conversation about how we should conserve and manage wolves in Washington for the long-term in our state, post-recovery,” Julia Smith, WDFW’s wolf coordinator, said.
WDFW first started work in 2007 on the plan for wolf recovery. Since 2008, the state’s wolf population has grown an average of 28% per year, which makes biologists confident the population is on a path to successful recovery, Smith said.
WDFW has information about the post-recovery planning process on its website at wdfw.wa.gov/wolves-post-recovery-comments. The department encourages people to submit comments online either through a questionnaire on the site or in a box where people can type in their own comments. There is also an address for people to mail written comments.
The state has extended the comment period by two weeks. Comments are due Friday, Nov. 15.