The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) cancels a series of wolf public planning meetings due to threats of violence. The open houses are being rescheduled as online interactive webinars this September and October.
WDFW Director Kelly Susewind says in a news release that the agency has seen “incredible intensity around wolf issues this summer, on both sides.” He says they have received some information that indicates the meetings could be disrupted, possibly creating an unsafe meeting environment.
Ongoing conflicts between wolves and livestock have created an emotional firestorm pitting ranchers against environmentalists. The situation has intensified recently with both sides posting threats on social media. The open houses were aimed at helping develop a post-recovery plan.
Washington’s wolf population has been growing since 2008. The WDFW proposes to develop a post-recovery conservation and management plan to guide long-term wolf conservation and management under state authority.
The public scoping comment period will remain open until Nov. 1 and the Department is encouraging interested parties to provide input on the scope of the future wolf plan. The Department is accepting comments via online survey and in writing.