OLYMPIA – Gray wolves are being removed from the federal endangered species list for Eastern Washington east of Highway 97, where they are considered part of the northern Rocky Mountain population.
However, the state Fish and Wildlife Department says wolves remain protected as a state endangered species throughout Washington, and it’s illegal to harass or kill them under state law.
The change means the state Fish and Wildlife Department is the lead agency for the wolf in the eastern third of Washington, including reports of wolves killing livestock.
The federal Fish and Wildlife Service is the lead agency in the rest of Washington where wolves remain on the federal list.
The state population is estimated at about two dozen wolves, with only a couple of successful breeding pairs documented.