Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Thursday, November 14, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Fog 31° Fog
Sports >  Outdoors

Washington bill calls for wolves to be relocated to Bainbridge Island

UPDATED: Sat., Feb. 2, 2019

In this July 15, 2013 photo, a yearling female gray wolf is set in the shade by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists so it can continue waking from the effect of tranquilizers after it was captured and fitted with ear tags and a GPS collar in Pend Oreille County in Washington state. A northeast Washington politician has introduced a bill that would move wolves onto Bainbridge Island. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
In this July 15, 2013 photo, a yearling female gray wolf is set in the shade by Washington Fish and Wildlife Department biologists so it can continue waking from the effect of tranquilizers after it was captured and fitted with ear tags and a GPS collar in Pend Oreille County in Washington state. A northeast Washington politician has introduced a bill that would move wolves onto Bainbridge Island. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

A northeast Washington politician has introduced a bill that would move wolves onto Bainbridge Island.

HB 1639 was introduced by Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda in response to HB 1045 which would make it illegal to kill wolves. That legislation was introduced by Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Bainbridge Island.

Kretz’ bill is described as an act “ensuring that all Washingtonians share in the benefits of an expanding wolf population.”

The majority of Washington’s wolves live in northeast Washington, including Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties. Kretz has introduced similar legislation in the past as a from of protest.

In an email to his constituents Kretz wrote, “I sponsored legislation to make the state’s first Gray Wolf Sanctuary in the lovely island confines of Bainbridge Island. I’m sure this apex predator will get along fine with the pets, animals and people of that place. Now, I’m not completely heartless. My bill would allow for the lethal removal of gray wolves on the island if four dogs, four cats, or two children were killed, to illustrate the insanity of someone who would place a higher value on wolves than on children.”

He added in a phone conversation, “My thought is if they are going to throw out ignorant ideas maybe they should get to know wolves a little better.”

Neither Appleton or Kretz’ bills are likely to move forward.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimates there are a minimum of 122 wolves, 22 packs and 14 successful breeding pairs statewide. That estimate was reported nearly a year ago. Most of those wolves are concentrated in northeast Washington.

However, University of Washington researchers, using scat-sniffing dogs, reported that the population is likely closer to 200 individual wolves on Jan. 22.

Wolves are a state endangered species throughout Washington. In the western two-thirds of the state, they’re federally endangered. The majority of the documented packs are in Eastern Washington.

The agency and the Wolf Advisory Group are both considering delisting wolves at the state level once recovery goals are met.

Additionally, WDFW is conducting a state environmental review of a plan that would relocate some wolves from northeast Washington and distribute them more evenly throughout the state.

“I don’t know how realistic it is, to be honest,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind in a previous interview. “We’ll give it a fair shot to see if its realistic.”

Subscribe to the sports newsletter

Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.

You have been successfully subscribed!
There was a problem subscribing you to the newsletter. Double check your email and try again, or email webteam@spokesman.com