Washington State University and a wolf and cougar researcher there are parting ways under a $300,000 settlement.
Rob Wielgus will resign as part of the deal in which neither party admits wrongdoing following an academic freedom lawsuit filed by the professor and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility against the school.
A brief statement from WSU said the money would come from the state.
Over the years, Wielgus garnered attention with his counterintuitive carnivore studies, and was a darling of wolf advocates with his research that appeared to show killing livestock-depredating wolves just resulted in more attacks.
But other researchers found lethal removals could yield different results, and Wielgus began to fall out of favor with some former allies following his summer 2016 claim that a Northeast Washington livestock producer had turned out his cattle “directly on top” of a wolf den but in fact were released 5 miles away and which led to a stunning rebuke from the university.
Subsequent articles by The Seattle Times detail tensions over Wielgus between ranching and political interests and university officials and programs.
PEER claimed that without the professor’s work, “Washington lacks a coherent, science-based wolf management policy.”
The lab’s listed assistant director is now WDFW’s statewide wolf specialist.