An Okanogan County lawmaker says more needs to be done to protect ranchers, cattlemen, and rural families from a rising wolf population.

According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the state's gray wolf population has grown nearly 28-percent each year since 2008.

State Representative Joel Kretz says environmentalists wanting wolves to remain on the state endangered list aren't seeing the big picture.

"We're saving the last wolf in the world. Urban people that don't know any better send them money. For them, it's an emotional fundraising thing. It has nothing to do with facts or science." Kretz said.

Representative Kretz has introduced a new bill in Olympia. It would give counties the power to delist wolves from the endangered species list if wolf population goals have been met.

"What we're saying is if a single county has four breeding pairs, that county can apply to be taken out of the endangered species state list." Kretz said.

Kretz hopes his bill receives enough bi-partisan support for it to pass. He says it will help ranchers, cattlemen, and rural families bear the brunt of predatory wolves.

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