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Wolf trapping deemed essential business in Washington

A gray wolf in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, shown on a wildlife camera. Wolves and cougars are the top predators in most western landscapes. (Kaija Klauder / COURTESY)
A gray wolf in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska, shown on a wildlife camera. Wolves and cougars are the top predators in most western landscapes. (Kaija Klauder / COURTESY)

Wolf trapping was deemed essential work, Friday.

The decision was made because of the “short window of time that it can be done,” said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman in an email.

“We have to do it before the weather warms up as you can’t leave animals in traps in hot weather,” she said.

WDFW traps wolves for research (learning about wolf habits, range, etc.), for the annual count and for locating packs and individual wolves in the case of lethal removals, Lehman said.

Only WDFW can trap, although the agency is working on an agreement that would allow Stevens and Ferry County Wildlife Specialist Jeff Flood to help with trapping.

“Because there are a lot of rules from the federal government when it comes to trapping protected species, and using immobilization drugs, he won’t be able to perform all aspects of trapping for the foreseeable future,” Lehman said.

Trapping usually takes place in late April and May, depending on weather and location.

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