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November 21, 2012 at 7:00 AM

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State pays $77,000 for wolf pack extermination

Demand wildlife protection

We now know that Washington state spent $77,000 for helicopters and sharpshooters to kill an entire family of wolves, including the pups, this September [“Killing NE Washington wolf pack cost $77,000,” News, Nov. 14].

We also know that there were no signs of cow parts in the stomachs of those slain animals, the supposed reason for the killings. The governor’s office and the Department of Fish and Wildlife were flooded with calls and emails protesting the decision to kill the pack, yet they proceeded against the will of the people and with the people’s money. They did it to appease an uncooperative rancher who pays only $1,034 a year to graze his cattle on our public land.

And the killings took place even though there was only one week left of grazing before the cattle were rounded up for slaughter. This action was conducted in ignorance.

Wolves are a crucial part of the ecosystem, benefiting the health of ungulates by removing only the sick and weak, thereby preventing the spread of disease among herds. Every wild animal from salmon to songbirds benefit from the return of wolves, as the damage from overgrazing is prevented.

It’s time to demand that our wildlife and our wild places are protected. We rejoiced only four years ago, when our iconic American gray wolf returned to Washington state, now we mourn this senseless action.

— Laurie Hertzler, Bellevue


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