Gray wolf conservation and management action criteria

Since 2011, the Washington Wolf Conservation and Management Plan has served as a framework for department efforts to manage the state’s growing wolf population. The plan, which reflects endangered species laws as well as public comments received from thousands of people around the state, has defined the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) policies on such issues as:

  • Nonlethal deterrence – Nonlethal management techniques will be emphasized throughout the recovery period and beyond.
  • Compensation – To receive compensation, producers will be responsible for following appropriate management methods that seek to limit wolf attractants in the vicinity of their livestock, including removal of dead and dying animals and other proactive measures.
  • Lethal deterrence – The department may consider lethal removal only when all of the following criteria are met:
    • It is documented that livestock have clearly been killed by wolves;
    • Nonlethal methods have been tried but failed to resolve the conflict;
    • Depredations are likely to continue; and
    • There is no evidence of intentional feeding or unnatural attraction of wolves by the livestock owner.

In most cases, the state plan leaves WDFW to determine how to put these policies into action. The plan does not, for example, define precisely what types of technical assistance the department should provide to livestock producers or how many times a wolf must attack livestock before it is subject to lethal deterrence.

To answer those and other questions, WDFW worked with the citizen-based Wolf Advisory Group to define those operational steps and ensure its management actions are both consistent with the state plan and transparent to the public.

Livestock-wolf mitigation measures

This document provides a checklist of nonlethal measures, tailored to specific conditions, that livestock owners must follow as a step toward qualifying for compensation for wolf depredation.

Wolf-livestock interaction protocol

This document serves as a protocol for wolf-livestock interactions. It was developed by WDFW and its citizen-based Wolf Advisory Group to guide efforts to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock. The protocol prescribes proactive measures livestock producers can take to reduce the probability of wolf-livestock conflicts, and it establishes a framework for the department’s response when conflicts between wolves and livestock do occur. It also serves to increase the transparency and accountability of the department’s activities and management actions related to wolves.