SEATTLE— Conservation and animal-protection groups announced a combined $30,000 reward today for information leading to a conviction in the illegal killing of four wolves in northeastern Washington earlier this year.
Deputies from the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office discovered four dead wolves on Feb. 18, while on a snowmobile patrol. An incident report indicates that the deputies reported the deaths immediately to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife but didn’t hear back from the agency. Department staff stated for the first time this week that they are actively investigating dead wolves in Stevens County but have not provided further details.
The report did not find any evidence of bullet holes or physical trauma to the wolves, which suggests their deaths may have been the result of poisoning.
“This is devastating news for Washington’s wolves, and each senseless killing must be fully investigated,” said Sophia Ressler, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “If poachers are allowed to get off scot-free, it only encourages them to kill again. Fish and Wildlife must follow through and bring the perpetrators to justice.”
“The Department has chosen to paint a glowing picture of wolf recovery in Washington, rather than be honest with the public about this tragedy,” said Samantha Bruegger executive director of Washington Wildlife First. “The public, and the wolves, deserve better. We call on the Department to be open with the public about the extent of the illegal killing of wolves in the state, and we ask the public to provide whatever information they can to aid in this investigation.”
Lead Image: Teanaway wolf by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
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