Public Testimony at the 10/28/22 WDFW Commission Meeting:
Good Morning Commissioners, My name is Dan Wilson and I’m the co-chair of the Washington Chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers. On behalf of our chapter, I would like to strongly voice our support that the Woodland caribou remain listed as state endangered species in Washington. I also feel compelled to state that it is simply insufficient to list them as an endangered species and allow a periodic review to act as a eulogy to this impressive species. Instead, I must call on the commission to recognize the potential of ongoing recovery efforts and to create a roadmap to reintroduction in the state. As conservationists, we cannot in good conscious rubber stamp and accept extirpation or extinction, and I know this commission shares those values. While the presentation states that it is unlikely for caribou to become reestablished without human intervention, it is imperative to acknowledge the efforts taking place in Canada to recover the population to a point at which they might be translocated to re-establish our resident herd. There is still tangible hope for this species- in Canada and the US, but it will require strong partnership from our state to succeed. I encourage the commission to engage in good faith and collaborative action to support these efforts with vested stakeholders like federal agencies, Canadian entities, conservation organizations, timber industry and sovereign tribes. Woodland caribou offer Washington a rare and critical opportunity- the chance for a species to claw back from extinction and craft a true wildlife recovery story. It would not simply be a conservation victory, but an affirmation of our most important shared values. These animals belong in the Northeast corner and we are all called upon to have the capacity and determination to return them there. I implore the commission to recognize and act on this possibility by not simply placing the caribou on a dusty and static shelf, but to aggressively commit to a recovery path and plan, and to engage in management activities that facilitate repopulation in this state. We cannot relegate them to the wastebin of human development You are uniquely empowered to do something lasting, meaningful and vitally imperative for this species and I look forward to your leadership in recovering them as pillar of biodiversity in their home range. Thank you for your time.