HOWL Colorado

Preferred plan in Washington would be most generous

As reported on HOWLColorado previously, Washington state released it’s proposed wolf management plans, as the iconic predators have started dispersing in to the state. The preferred plan would include the most generous compensation for livestock losses.

The Associated Press, in typically timely fashion, is reporting that the preferred plan in the Washington State would compensate livestock owners more than any other plan in the Western U.S.

The plan offered 5 options, and the preferred option could pay as much as two times the retail value of any animal lost to wolf predation.

Livestock is classified as cattle, pigs, horses, mules, sheep, llama, goats, and work dogs (guard and herding).

The plan still hasn’t been approved, and with four other alternatives, it is possible this plan wouldn’t be adopted at all, but the preferred plan has an estimated reimbursement cost of $4,000 in 2010, and growing to $25,000 in 2015 (accounting for the growth of the wolf population in the state).

The assumptions are made based on the experiences in Idaho and Montana. Also assumed is the amount of prey likely to be needed once 200 wolves become established residents of the state. It is estimated that approximately 12 elk and 20 deer will be killed by predation for each wolf on an annual basis. This is higher end of most estimates, which place the average annual predation on large ungulates at approximately 8 per wolf.  

The study suggests that 200 wolves could kill as many as 2,520 elk and 4,180 deer in a year.

Human hunters, for perspective, kill on average:
7,390 elk
38,100 deer

The public has the chance to make comments and attend a couple of public meetings prior to January 8th.

The preferred plan, and two of the other options require the establishment of 15 successful breeding pairs of wolves in the state before it would be removed from the Endangered Species List for the state.

There are currently two established packs (i.e. with a breeding Alpha pair) in Washington state; one with seven members, located southwest of Twisp, the second pack is smaller with only five members in Pend Oreille County.

The full 249 page document can be on the previous story on HOWLColorado.

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