For Immediate Release, June 4, 2019

Contact:

Amaroq Weiss, (707) 779-9613, aweiss@biologicaldiversity.org

Reward Increased to $10,000 for Info on Killing of Endangered Washington Wolf

SEATTLE— The Center for Biological Diversity today increased to $10,000 the reward for information leading to a conviction for the latest illegal killing of a radio-collared wolf found in northeast Washington.

Rewards were already offered by another conservation group, but the Center boosted the number by $2,500.

“We’re all grieving the senseless and illegal killing of yet another endangered wolf from Washington’s small population,” said Amaroq Weiss, senior West Coast wolf advocate at the Center. “The deliberate killing of any wolf is a terrible blow to the conservation of this amazing species. This tragedy underscores how wolves continue to need the strongest possible protection at both the state and federal levels.”

State officials recovered the dead female wolf on May 27 in the Little Pend Oreille Wildlife Refuge/Highway 20 area after her radio collar gave off a mortality signal, spurring a search for her whereabouts. The agency believes the wolf is a member of the Stranger pack.

Anyone with information about this wolf killing should contact state law-enforcement agents at the regional Spokane office at (509) 892-1001 or through the 1-877-933-9847 hotline for reporting poaching activity in Washington. Reports to this hotline may be made anonymously.

“We’re adding to this reward because wolves are a critical part of America’s heritage,” Weiss said. “We can’t let a few killers deny future generations their opportunity to see these incredible animals in the wild.”

This most recent killing is one of several dozen in recent years jeopardizing the recovery of Washington’s gray wolves, which are fully protected under the federal Endangered Species Act in the western two-thirds of Washington and throughout the state under state endangered species law.

Background
Only 126 confirmed wolves lived in Washington at the end of 2018, in 27 packs and with 15 confirmed breeding pairs. Since 2010 at least 21 known wolf-poaching incidents have been discovered, and nearly all remain unsolved.

Published science regarding wolf poaching concludes that for every poached wolf found, one to two additional illegally killed wolves go undiscovered, meaning that in Washington as many as 63 wolves may have been poached in the past nine years.

People have been the major cause of losses for Washington’s wolves since they began recolonizing the state in 2007. People have killed pack members, including breeding wolves and pups, of at least 11 of the state’s 27 known packs.

In addition to poaching, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife kills wolves for conflicts with livestock. Ranch hands have killed wolves spotted near livestock, and hikers and hunters have shot wolves in so-called “self-defense,” even though wolves are notoriously shy and unlikely to attack people.

Washington’s wolves were driven to extinction in the early 1900s by a government-sponsored eradication program on behalf of the livestock industry. Since the early 2000s, the animals have started to make a slow comeback by dispersing into Washington from neighboring Idaho and British Columbia.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.4 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.