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Saturday, April 4, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Outdoors blog

Second thoughts on capturing wolf for captivity

A yearling female gray wolf is set in the shade by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologist Scott Becker, left, and Trent Roussin, so it can continue waking from the effect of tranquilizers before taking off on its own again. It was captured and fitted with ear tags and a GPS collar on July 15, 2013, in Pend Oreille County. RICH LANDERS richl@spokesman.com (Rich Landers)
A yearling female gray wolf is set in the shade by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologist Scott Becker, left, and Trent Roussin, so it can continue waking from the effect of tranquilizers before taking off on its own again. It was captured and fitted with ear tags and a GPS collar on July 15, 2013, in Pend Oreille County. RICH LANDERS richl@spokesman.com (Rich Landers)

ENDANGERED SPECIES -- Pro-wolf groups praised the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department's decision to attempt to capture the Ruby Creek wolf and put it in a Western Washington wildlife park to avoid conflicts with humans in rural areas near Ione.

Even though the Ruby Creek wolf had previously been trapped by researchers and is wearing a transmitting collar, capture crews had no luck on Friday and there's still no word today.

Which gives us pause to consider:

  • Once a wolf has been pinched by a trap, it's extremely difficult to catch again.
  • Baiting options for capturing a wolf would have to be monitored constantly to avoid compromising other wildlife.
  • Tranquilizing a wolf by shooting from a helicopter is expensive and dangerous.

Are we going to crash a helicopter and kill a pilot and biologist before we come to grips with how many lives and how much  money we're willing to risk to make people feel good about managing wolves?



Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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