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Threats lead to cancellation of meetings about Washington wolves

(KIRO 7 file photo)

A series of meetings concerning Washington wolves were canceled recently by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife due to fears of violence.

The meetings were planned as part of an effort for a post-recovery conservation and management plan dealing with the point at which wolves are no longer an endangered species, both at the state and federal level.

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“We got to a point where the department could simply not assure the safety of the public or the staff,” WDFW’s eastern region director Steve Pozzanghera told The Spokesman-Review.

While wolf issues are typically contentious between ranchers who’ve had their cattle killed by wolves and those opposed to lethal removal orders of said wolves, organizers decided to cancel these particular meetings after Facebook posts began threatening violence. The threats related to agency plans to kill cattle-killing wolves and from those against the wolves.

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These past few months have seen wolves kill and injure a number of cattle. The WDFW killed several of the offending wolves, which was met with outrage and lawsuits from conservation groups. There was also anger on the part of ranchers who felt that the WDFW hasn’t responded fast enough to the cattle killings. Further WDFW kill orders are still set to occur.

The FBI is currently investigating threats that ranchers have received, as well as incidents of shot cattle.

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