KING 5's Gary Chittim reports.
The chairman of the state Senate committee that oversees Washington's Department of Fish & Wildlife tells NBC News that the killing of a gray wolf pack in recent days was "inexcusable" and that he is demanding answers about why the agency thought it was necessary.
"I find it ironic that the attacks on livestock that caused this situation ... took place on a ranch that has been outspoken about the removal of the pack and has refused to work with the department to implement prevention measures successfully adopted by other ranchers," he added.
"To say I am disappointed in the department's actions would be a gross understatement," Ranker said. "I can tell you, however, as the chair of the committee with oversight over the Department of Fish & Wildlife, this story is far from over."
In a letter Friday to the department, Ranker demanded to know:
- What specific actions the department took before authorizing the kill;
- Exact costs associated with killing the pack;
- What actions the department will take to avoid a repeat.
Ranker also said the department's strategy for managing gray wolves could backfire. "I fear that the Department’s actions ... will be viewed by some who do not support wolf recovery as setting a precedent that localized public pressure can dictate wolf plan implementation, including lethal removal decisions," he stated.