WDFW response to Governor Inslee granting an appeal to a rule-making petition on wolf-livestock regulations   

WDFW statement

On Jan. 12, 2024, Gov. Jay Inslee granted an appeal and directed the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to undertake rulemaking to guide when wolves can be lethally removed in response to conflict with livestock among other items. This was in response to an appeal filed by numerous environmental organizations on Nov. 27, 2023. WDFW will review and comply with the directive and staff will meet with the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission regarding the timing and process for initiating rule making.     

On Oct. 28, 2023, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission denied a petition from a group of non-government organizations that would require codification of rules regarding wolf-livestock conflict management and amendments to WAC 220-440-080.  

The groups involved in that petition submitted a request for an appeal to Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Nov. 27, 2023 (RCW 34.05.330).  

Similar requests have come before the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission several times over the past decade. The most recent petition filed in 2023 to the Commission is similar to petitions received from many of the same people and/or organizations. The Fish and Wildlife Commission voted on these petitions or wolf-livestock conflict deterrence rules in 2014, 2020, 2022, and 2023, and has rejected them each time. Additionally, the governor’s office rejected an appeal similar to this one in 2014.  

In a 2019 letter, Gov. Inslee also asked that the Wolf Advisory Group (WAG) work to make changes to the wolf-livestock interaction protocol that would result in fewer removals of wolves. The WAG did so, adopting new language reflected in the most recent revision of the wolf-livestock interaction protocol (Protocol) clarifying the duties and expectations for range riders during its August 2020 meeting. 

WDFW has significantly reduced the need for lethal removal of wolves. In 2019, WDFW lethally removed nine wolves. This was followed by three in 2020, two in 2021, six in 2022, and two in 2023—a 64% average reduction over the four years following 2019.  

In the meantime, the number of wolf packs, successful breeding pairs, and individual wolves in Washington has continued to increase every year, while levels of livestock depredation and wolf removals have remained low even with wolf range expansion and population increase.  

For more information on wolves in Washington, visit WDFW’s webpage. 

Request this information in an alternative format or language at wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/requests-accommodation, 833-855-1012, TTY (711), or CivilRightsTeam@dfw.wa.gov.