Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Kelly Susewind authorized the use of lethal measures to remove wolves from two packs that have repeatedly preyed on cattle on grazing lands in northeast Washington.
The two wolf packs subject to lethal action are the Smackout pack in Stevens County and the Togo pack in Ferry County.
Susewind authorized the removal of one or two members of the Smackout pack after WDFW field staff confirmed that the pack preyed on five cattle since Aug. 20. Four heifers were killed and one calf was injured in those attacks on privately owned pastures.
The pack includes four or five adult wolves and no known pups, said Donny Martorello, WDFW wolf policy lead.
Martorello said the latest depredations were confirmed in the last week, crossing the threshold for considering lethal action under WDFW’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol. Under that policy, WDFW can use lethal action to deter wolves if department staff documents three predations by wolves on livestock within 30 days, or four within 10 months.
“The purpose of this action is to change the pack’s behavior and deter continuing predation on livestock,” Martorello said. “That strategy is consistent with the guidelines established by the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the department’s protocol.”
Susewind also authorized the removal of the remaining members of the Togo pack, which has accounted for the death or injury of six cattle over the past 10 months in Ferry County.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation supports state agencies in the management of predator and prey alike, and in accordance with the North American Conservation Wildlife Model.
Find more information about WDFW’s decision here.
(Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)