The fate of a Washington wolf pack hangs in the balance
Late Friday, seven pro-wolf groups have sent a letter asking Governor Chris Gregoire and other state officials to end efforts to kill up to four “Wedge” wolf pack members, even as a team from Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) heavies are on-site continuing their lethal wolf “management” efforts. The WDFW thugs have spent the past week in Northeast Washington, attempting to “remove” (lethally, of course) wolves from the besieged pack.
The good news is they’ve had no luck killing any wolves during the past week. However, biologists reported finding the decomposed body of a young wolf within the Wedge pack’s range in northern Stevens County. A WDFW wildlife veterinarian was unable to determine that wolf’s cause of death since the carcass was too badly decomposed.
Although lacking hard evidence of any wrongdoing against cattle by wolves, wildlife “managers” earlier this month “lethally removed” one female from the Wedge pack and shared wolf pack location information with the outspoken wolf-haters from the Diamond M Ranch. (I for one have a strong suspicion as to how the Stevens County wolf might have died.)
The letter to Governor Gregoire and other Washington state officials sent by the Western Environmental Law Center and signed by pro-wolf groups, such as The Humane Society of the United States and Conservation Northwest, charged that Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officers didn’t find conclusive evidence that wolves were responsible for attacks on cattle and are jumping to a lethal option too hastily.
Two of the three non-agency experts who peer-reviewed the field investigations were unconvinced the purported cattle attacks were the work of wolves, said Suzanne Stone of the Defenders of Wildlife.
“The reports and especially the photos indicate injuries uncharacteristic of wolves,” she said.
The following Incident Report, #WA – 12 – 007485, by a WDFW agent should give you an idea just how inconclusive the “evidence” of some of these alleged wolf “attacks” really is:
“On 08/02/12 at approximately 1430 Hrs. Officer Parker and I were on a routine patrol on the Churchill Mine road. We approached the cattle pens and observed Bill McIrvin and three other ranch hands. I could see that Bill and his ranch hands were busy with corralling and dealing with large calves in the holding area. I contacted Bill in an effort to introduce Officer Parker. Bill told us one of his calves had bite marks on it and wanted me to see them. Bill also had a bleached out bone that had been eaten/chewed on. Bill stated it was from one of his calves. I observed it. It had been chewed on one end of the bone. I could not determine exactly what had chewed on it or cause of death.
“Bill then moved a cow and calf into the corral for closer inspection. I could see that the calf seemed normal and healthy. I did see on the back right leg, middle of leg, a laceration, approximately 2” wide. I could see no other apparent wounds. The calf was cornered and handled by 4 men to where it was put on its side for me to look at the wound and possible bite4 marks. Once, the calf was down, Bill pointed out the obvious laceration (photo taken). It was approximately 2 to 3” long. No maggots and still a fresh opening through the hair/hide. Bill then pointed out a bite mark next to the laceration. Using my fingers and feeling through the hair, I could not see or confirm a bit mark was there. Bill then grabbed underneath and inside the back right leg. Bill wanted me to grab and feel in this area for another bite mark. I reached in with my fingers and began felling in the same spot as well. I used my fingers feeling through the hair and touching the hide and felt no bite marks. I observed no obvious bite marks or trauma in any areas inside the back rear legs. Bill then pointed out an area he believed the calf had been bitten on the forward chest area. I used my fingers and felt through the hair and hide and felt no bite marks. I observed no obvious signs of trauma in the forward chest area as well.
“I spoke with Bill regarding compensation. I asked Bill if he would reconsider accepting compensation for his calves. Bill stated he was not interested in compensation this year.
“…I explained to Sheriff Allen [with Stevens County Sheriff’s Office] that I had looked at the calf and did not believe it was a wolf encounter… based on no apparent bite marks, no trauma, one laceration, I could not determine what had caused the laceration.”
When in doubt, blame it on the wolf…