In the past, wolves ruled the West Coast ranging from Washington to Southern California. However, due to the livestock industry wolves have been persecuted and exterminated. The last wild wolf recorded was in California in 1924. It was later shot. In the 1930s, the last breeding wolves in Washington were eliminated. Since then, there have been considerable efforts to restore the wolf population to the West Coast.
Maintaining a healthy population of wolves in crucial for the environment. Being important predators they regulate deer and elk populations. When deer and elk move in response to natural hunting behaviors by wolves, the strain on the environment is lifted as vegetation can grow back as well as populations of beavers and songbirds.
Over five years a collaboration between legislators, ranchers, enviornmentalists and animals conservation groups created the State Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. This was a triumph of compromise and cooperation. However, now there are two bills being considered in the Washington legislature which would disregard the plan and allow local sheriffs to be in control of all wolf management. This is undesirable because these officials would be able to make crucial decisions about wolves without being properly qualified or informed.
It is currently illegal for livestock owners to kill endangered wolves. However, Senate bill 5187 would allow ranchers to kill wolves without a permit or permission. Many are worried that if passed this bill would reverse all progress made in introducing the wolves back into Washington.
You can take action and help stop these bills from becoming law by contacting your state senator. Many people fail to realize the importance of wolves and that they are in dire need of our continued protection. Please encourage your state senator to keep the hard won protections in place and oppose Senate bill 5187 and 5188.