Washington wildlife agency gets green light to kill cattle-hunting wolf


Washington state government marksmen now have clearance to go out this weekend to shoot a wolf from a pack that has been preying on cattle in the Colville National Forest. A judge on Friday declined to extend a temporary stay on the killing won by several environmental groups last week.

Lawyers for the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands were back in Thurston County Superior Court Friday morning seeking a longer injunction. They wanted to prevent the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife from killing members of the Togo wolf pack.

“There is a high burden that has to be met,” said Judge Carol Murphy in issuing a denial from the bench. “That burden has not been met at this time.”

The new Department of Fish and Wildlife director, Kelly Susewind, watched from the back of the courtroom. After the ruling, he said he was “glad” the agency can proceed.

Still, inside and outside court Friday, the wildlife agency faced questions about the necessity of hunting down the male wolf, given that he is already limping from an existing bullet wound in a rear leg and probably not currently a threat to livestock.

“In order to change pack behavior, it’s still appropriate to lethally remove the collared male,” Susewind said in an interview.

The West Coast wolf advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity predicted the disruption of the pack structure from killing its leader could increase — not decrease — problems for ranchers in the mountains near the Canadian border.

“In killing that wolf, that leaves his mate on her own to hunt and feed herself and her two pups,” said Amaroq Weiss. “If she’s hunting by herself, she’s not going to be able to take a big, wild prey animal like an elk down by herself. The most vulnerable prey that is in the area is livestock. So this may actually exacerbate the conflicts and result in more livestock losses, which no one wants.”

Weiss called the courtroom outcome “a tragic result” for the wolf, his pups and mate.

Susewind’s authorization to take lethal measures against one or more members of the Togo pack came after the pack preyed on cattle on six separate occasions in the Kettle River Range since last November.

Late last week, a cattleman shot and injured the Togo pack male in an incident that remains under investigation by Fish and Wildlife. The rancher told the agency’s staff that he shot in self-defense after encountering the growling wolf, who may have been protecting the pack’s pups.

Environmental groups in the Pacific Northwest other than those that brought the lawsuit are grudgingly going along with killing problem wolves as a last resort policy.

“Lawsuits and polarization haven’t worked out well for wolves elsewhere, so we see little upside in spreading those tactics to Washington, where wolf recovery is going relatively well overall,” said Mitch Friedman, executive director of the Bellingham-based group Conservation Northwest, in a statement critical of the legal challenge.

He said collaboration between conservation groups, government agencies and livestock producers “is leading to less social conflict concerning wolves.” It’s also making ranchers more willing to adopt non-lethal wolf deterrence techniques, Friedman said.

Copyright 2018 Northwest News Network.

9 thoughts on “Washington wildlife agency gets green light to kill cattle-hunting wolf

  1. So, we humans crowd the range with cattle, sheep, pushing out the native animals. Then, we blame, slaughter them. This tragedy has been going on since the 1900’s–nothing will change, until this Destructive Livestock Industry is booted off public lands, like this National Forest. Too many so-called “wildlife” groups” are now in cahoots with the Enemy, making “deals” with the Enemy, and even approving of such slaughter. No wonder things are so bad for the wildlife.
    I once was a dedicated volunteer with Wild Earth Guardians, but became very disgusted as the leaders collaborated, hired, and other wise compromised with hunters, ranchers. Now, such groups have made it part of their very policy—some even have hunters, ranchers on their staff, boards. This is not in any way, “protecting wild animals.” It just keeps these now-corporate groups bringing in donations, and maintaining nice cushy offices for these traitors to work in.

  2. They got him today by helicopter. So sad and stupid. Poor wolf.

    I hope this will be the last we hear from those whinging, complaining ba****ds, but somehow I doubt it.

    I also blame gluttony and meat eating, because the rationale that they don’t get beef from these particular suppliers means nothing – all beef purchased makes the lobby more powerful. We have given them this power.

  3. “Mediators” are nothing more than sell-outs to the Livestock Industry–nothing really has changed, as so-called “wildlife groups” continue to compromise wolf lives (and other wild lives) away. This kind of behavior has done ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to help the struggling, remaining Mexican Wolf population in NM and Ariz.–except embolden the enemies of wild carnivores.
    The fact that some of these cowardly wildlife groups are now applauding zoos as wonderful & “necessary breeding facilities” is shameful, and may actually be aiding the demise of this species.

    Why was the Yellowstone Wolf Re-Introduction program so successful? Here’s why: They were WILD Wolves, not zoo bred, and they were released on National Park Land, which has NO HUNTING AND NO GRAZING.

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