OLYMPIA — Rep. Joel Kretz made good today on his promise to help Western Washington enjoy one of the “advantages” Eastern Washington has — wolves.
Kretz, R-Wauconda, introduced a bill that would allow the Department of Fish and Wildlife to “translocate” wolves that are captured in Eastern Washington to the other side of the state. Wolves are a protected species under state law, and seven or eight of the state's nine recognized packs are in his northeastern Washington district.
“If wolves are so wonderful, I don't think we should be hoarding them in my district,” Kretz said.
Under his proposal, captured wolves could be sent to anywhere that has at least 50 square miles of territory, the amount needed for an adult wolf to roam. That would include some islands in the Puget Sound, and the Olympic Peninsula. That would allow the entire state to “enjoy the re-establishment of this majestic species.”
The department does not currently relocate captured wolves out of their territory, although it does tag or put radio collars on some before releasing them.
He said he asked for co-sponsors from some Western Washington legislators but didn't get any takers.
The bill may never get a hearing, and is a facetious attempt to make a point for another bill Kretz expects to introduce in the next week. That bill would allow the state to take wolves off its endangered species list in Eastern Washington, a step the federal government has already taken, he said. That would allow ranchers to kill wolves attacking livestock or pets, and possibly lay the groundwork for regulated hunting.