Controversial Wolf Researcher Agrees to Leave WSU

Carnivore Conservation Lab director angered ranchers with his research of wolf behavior

By Tristan Scott

PULLMAN, Wash. — A controversial wolf researcher will accept a $300,000 settlement to leave Washington State University.

Robert Wielgus, director of the Carnivore Conservation Lab, had sued the Pullman school for infringement of his academic freedom.

Wielgus angered ranchers with his research of wolf behavior. He concluded that the state’s policy of killing wolves that preyed on cattle was likely to increase cattle predation because it destabilized the structure of wolf packs.

Ranchers complained to the Washington State Legislature, which cut Wielgus’ funding and removed him as principal investigator on his ongoing work.

Wielgus then filed a lawsuit alleging the university had punished him to placate politicians beholden to ranchers.

The Seattle Times reported Tuesday that WSU administrators became worried the dispute would hurt chances for funding its new medical school.