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Multiple gray wolves in the northeast of Washington have been found dead, and wildlife officials suspect they were poisoned.

Source: KREM 2 News/YouTube

“For the past seven months,” wildlife officials said in a press release, “the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Police have been investigating six wolf mortalities within the Wedge pack territory in Stevens County.”

Police first began investigating in February, and toxicology results revealed that all six wolves died from ingesting poison. Conservation and wildlife organizations are offering rewards totaling $51,400 so far for information that leads to the conviction of those responsible for the poisonings.

Gray wolves are listed as endangered under state law in Washington, and in the western two-thirds of the state, they are also listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. The illegal killing of wolves or other endangered fish or wildlife species is a gross misdemeanor that is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

“This is a tragic, unnecessary loss to our state’s endangered wolf population,” Zoe Hanley, a wolf biologist with Defenders of Wildlife, said in a statement Monday. “This cowardly act flies in the face of committed efforts from biologists, policymakers and ranchers working to recover and coexist with wolves in Washington.”

According to the department, at the end of 2021, there were at least 206 known wolves in 33 known packs.

The investigation is active, and the Department is encouraging anyone who might have information to come forward and report it confidentially by calling WDFW’s poaching hotline, 877-933-9847, or by texting a tip to 847411.

Just last year, Conservation and animal protection groups in Oregon offered a reward of $40,000 for information that results in a conviction regarding the fatal poisoning of 8 gray wolves in the state. Toxicology reports showed a variety of poisons in the wolves’ bodies, indicating that they had been purposefully killed by a cocktail of poisons. It is not uncommon for poachers to poison wolves, but this came as a shock to many Oregonians.

These cruel and deliberate poisonings not only caused these poor individual wolves to suffer but also may have a serious impact on the gray wolf population in the state.

Sign this petition telling the Fish and Wildlife Service to act now and relist the gray wolf as endangered.

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