Will There Finally Be Justice For Washington’s Wolves?

August 2009, Lookout Pack Howling in the Methow Valley

Just a few short years ago wildlife advocates were celebrating the return of canis lupus to Washington state, after a seventy year absence. The Lookout Pack was formed, they made the Methow Valley their home. The wolf had come back to Washington!!

But something went terribly wrong.  In 2008 a woman attempted to FedEx a dripping, bloody box containing a wolf pelt.  Last year the alpha female of the Lookout Pack disappeared.

Now some members of a Washington state family have been indicted, by a federal grand jury,  for poaching endangered wolves!!

From the Seattle Times:

Methow Valley ranchers indicted in wolves’ deaths

Members of a Methow Valley ranching family have been charged in federal court in the killing of several endangered gray wolves and the attempt to illegally mail at least one of the pelts to Canada in a bloody box.

By Craig Welch

Seattle Times environment reporter

Originally published June 8, 2011 at 8:54 PM | Page modified June 9, 2011 at 6:24 AM

Members of a Methow Valley ranching family have been charged in the killing of several endangered gray wolves and the attempt to illegally mail at least one of the pelts to Canada in a bloody box.

A federal grand jury Tuesday handed up a 12-count indictment that accuses Bill White and his son Tom White, of the Twisp area in Okanogan County, of poaching at least two wolves and then conspiring with Tom’s wife, Erin White, to smuggle one of the pelts to an acquaintance in Alberta. The men may have killed another three of the endangered species, according to the indictment.

Activists pushing to see wolf populations restored in Washington applauded the charges.

“People who kill wolves are flat out poachers — people with disrespect for the law and for wildlife,” said Mitch Friedman, of Conservation Northwest. “It’s critical that we come down on them hard, and I’m glad to see that we are.”

The indictment is the first to come after a rash of suspicious wolf deaths, many involving a group of animals known as the Lookout Pack, which took up residence in the Methow Valley in 2008.

One skinned gray-wolf carcass was found dumped by the roadside in Skagit County with a bullet hole in it. Meanwhile, the Lookout Pack’s lone breeding female disappeared last year. She was wearing a radio collar that should have changed signals if she’d simply died. Instead it went silent, leaving state biologists to suspect it had been destroyed by a gunshot. She disappeared more than a year after federal agents began investigating the Whites.

Canis lupus was extirpated from the American West more than 70 years ago, but the animals were reintroduced in Idaho and Yellowstone National Park in 1995. Since then, wolves from there and from British Columbia have begun recolonizing Washington, thrilling conservationists and frustrating some livestock owners who fear wolves may decimate their herds of cows and sheep.

The White case surfaced in late 2008, when a woman walked into a FedEx office in Omak and attempted to mail what she said was a rug. The shipping agent refused to mail the package after he saw it was leaking blood. Omak police were called, discovered the pelt and sent it to wildlife agents who confirmed it was from a wolf, according to a search-warrant affidavit.

Investigators used security cameras to trace the woman and her car to the Whites’ house. During a search of two homes occupied by the Whites near Lookout Mountain, agents seized a computer that included photos of Tom White posing with a large wolf with a damaged paw, the search-warrant affidavit said.

The indictment describes the case against the White family like this:

In late 2007, after reports of wolves began to surface in Eastern Washington, Bill White emailed a relative in Alaska asking for help in finding someone who knew how to snare wolves in a trap. Six weeks later he emailed someone that he and others were hunting three wolves near his home.

Tom White allegedly killed one wolf in mid-May 2008 and another in December, one of which he skinned, the indictment says. His father allegedly contacted a friend in Alberta and offered him “a really big coyote” for tanning.

Just before Christmas, according to the indictment, Erin White drove the pelt to the shipping agent in Omak and used a false name to attempt to send it to Canada.

Later, in January 2009, Bill White again sent an email to someone claiming he and others had shot two wolves in a group of nine and one wolf in a group of three. It’s not clear whether he was claiming they had shot three more wolves, or three total. That same month, the indictment alleges, Bill White also illegally applied pesticides in a manner intended to kill wolves.

Bill White faces nine felony counts, including conspiracy and obstruction charges. If convicted, the combined charges could result in decades in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.

If Tom White is convicted, he faces up to eight years in prison, while a conviction for his wife could lead to a sentence of more than 10 years.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2015269378_wolves09m.html

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Happier Times!

Lookout pups caught frolicking on a trail camera, August 2008.

If these people are found guilty I hope they throw the book at them!!

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Justice for Lookout wolves

Jun 09, 2011

http://www.conservationnw.org/news/justice-for-lookout-wolves

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Videos: Courtesy of Conservation NW

Posted in: Wolf Wars, Washington’s wolves

Tags: Poachers, Lookout Pack, Wolf Wars, Washington, Methow Valley, Conservation NW, wolf pups, Lookout Pack alpha female, FedEx

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18 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “agents seized a computer that included photos of Tom White posing with a large wolf with a damaged paw, the search-warrant affidavit said.”

    They just can’t help themselves can they?
    These criminals deserve every minute of their jail sentences and every cent of the fine, they and anyone else who follows in their footsteps should be made to pay their just due in full. Enough of the slap on the hand treatment.

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    • John….Gee I wonder how the wolf damaged it’s paw? That is so sad, so very sad. What happened to that wolf?? We can only use our imaginations and it’s not good. I don’t think poachers think they are going to get caught.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

      Like

      • Nabeki, poachers don’t think at all.

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  2. I had been hoping there would be some answers regarding the Lookout Pack for a while now and I’m glad they have finally shed some light on the case. These people are deserving of the full extent of the law and I hope they really make an example out of them. I want to extend my heartfelt thanks to all the investigators and people involved in the case who spoke out.

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  3. CARCEL PARA LOS ASESINOS Y MALTRATADORES DE ANIMALES .

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  4. I hope the three of them get the maximum sentence under the law AND have to pay hefty fines to send a message that poaching is illegal and will NOT be tolerated. Looks like more of the comments I read from the Seattle Times were in support of the wolves, not the Whites, which is certainly refreshing.

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    • Rhonda….I’ve been following this saga for a couple of years. First it was the bloody wolf pup pelt that they tried to FedEx to Canada. I knew when the alpha female went missing from the Lookout pack she was probably dead. The Lookouts were the first confirmed wolf pack in Washington state in 70 years, yet these wolf poachers took it upon themselves to go out and try to destroy them. I am so sick and tired of all the death and destruction of wolves. The Mexican grays are not only fighting the poachers now their den sites are being burned out in that horrific fire. Who knows if pups survived in those areas? Then their are the upcoming Idaho and Montana wolf hunts, the horse incident, , the Great Lakes region is getting ready to delist wolves. It just goes on and on, I could write for hours about it. Yet there is a pack of feral dogs who have killed 100 animals in the last few months, why are we just hearing about this now. If wolves were involved it would be front page news.

      ODFW has the option of killing the Imnaha pack on the table for a few cattle depredations, when ranchers in Oregon lost 51.000 plus cattle in 2010 to non-predation. The NASS numbers are wacky, not matching the USFWS wolf depredation numbers at all. It’s as if hell is reigning down on wolves. This has to stop!!!

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

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  5. Lock the door and throw away the key…..

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  6. And this happened with protections under the ESA, which was the only reason there was any investigation at all. Now there simply isn’t anything to ensure that people are brought to justice for their casual malice against wolves. Absolutely, the Whites should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, and need to have more than just a book thrown at them. The wolf has been abused and used as an example, many times over, now it’s their tormentor’s turn.

    Laws are for those who will abide by them…and never for the lawless. Any justice for these magnificent animals will never be swift enough, severe enough, or long lasting.

    What concerns me is the downward trend we are witnessing since the delisting of the wolf, it must be reigned in somehow, it’s escalating more every day. People taking matters into their own hands…anti-crowds have lost all rational thought and seek only to claim as many victims as possible. I just can”t believe that SOMEONE in Washington doesn’t see that these people are out of control and do something to cease the madness and curb their enthusiasm for blood lust. It’s like they are intoxicated by the power of their own arrogance.

    The opposition speaks of “sportsmanship” yet knows nothing of fairness. I am foggy brained right now, is there a law to uphold the ethical treatment of wildlife? If there is, it needs to be amended to ensure that the intentional torture or avocation of the poisoning of wolves is considered criminal…and punishable. But since when has fairness ever had a say in anything that pertains to the wolf?

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  7. Well said Wolf’s Lament – well said!

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  8. After you read comments from Muzzleloader Mike and Remington Rick you get a better idea about what wolves face all over the west. These people have no intelligence, most of them are borderline illiterate, complete with their many generations of cultural ignorance and vermin talk

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    • This has gotten so out of hand william. One day doesn’t go by without bad wolf news. They are being attacked on every front and this is the result of the delisting. The gloves are off and they think they can get away with whatever they want.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

      Like

  9. We CAN turn this around…and we MUST!!!

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  10. People like the whites are the reason why there needs to be more than 15 breeding pairs in WA.

    Bad news for the wolves in Idaho, but most of us knew they were going to allow trapping.

    http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/2011/jun/10/idaho-plans-wolf-trapping-addition-hunting/

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    • Jon….Yep they had that in their “bag of tricks” last year before the wolf hunt was cancelled. It is going to be a blood bath.. There will be trapping, archery, baiting, calling, snares, leg hold traps and of course shooting them. The pups of this year will only be about 5-6 months old when the hunts start. I can’t really think about it. I’m waiting to see how Judge Molloy will rule on the rider. He is expediting the briefs and everything has to be on his desk by the end of this month. Plus we have the wolf rally coming up in DC in August.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

      Like

  11. Wolf Rally in D.C. ????? I’m going to Google right now …….

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    • Yes ramses, in August. I will post more information about it very soon.

      For the wolves, For the wild ones,
      Nabeki

      Like

  12. These blood-thirsty wolf-haters and their evil killing machines
    need to be hexed, cursed, jinxed, any measures necessary
    to keep our furry friends from being exterminated,
    and freedom and justice to prevail for our Wolf Nation!!
    It would be super if we had some type of march and rally
    for our wolves here in Hamilton, MT.
    OR if there were any like-minds whom would be
    interested in giving me a lift to D.C. so I can attend the main march and rally.
    As far as I’m concerned , all those stupid
    wolf-hating ranchers and hunters here in the Bitterroot can
    build a time machine, leave the year 2011 A.D.,
    and go back to the 19th Century where they belong and spend
    the rest of their ignorant lives in that era.
    I’m howling for freedom and justice for our precious pooches
    and our caring human like-minds of our glorious Wolf Nation,
    as well as for help in finding a way of traveling to D.C..
    or having a similar event in all cities and towns
    (including Hamilton, Montana) where I can attend.
    Hoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooowl

    PLUS: I have my rebellious wolf flags and ensigns flying high
    and proud for our revolution to preserve our Wolf Nation.

    http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1892411503207

    Like


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