Washington State to Kill More Wolves in Ferry County

by Evan Bush / Seattle Times
Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind announced plans Wednesday for the agency (WDFW) to kill at least one of the wolves reportedly responsible for a recent rash of attacks on cattle in Ferry County, according to a department news release.
It’s the second time this year that WDFW has resorted to killing wolves as confrontations between the animals and cattle continue to bedevil the agency responsible for the canine species’ recovery in Washington state. A WDFW marksman earlier this month shot and killed a member of the Togo wolf pack, which was also preying on Ferry County cattle. Two conservation organizations filed a legal challenge over the agency’s decision about the Togo wolf. That lawsuit is ongoing.
WDFW will not be able to kill members of the new wolf pack until Thursday afternoon, and new legal challenges loom. Amaroq Weiss, a wolf advocate for the Center for Biological Diversity, said her organization will seek a temporary restraining order to prevent the killing.
The wolf pack WDFW plans to target has tried to prey on cattle six times this month on federal grazing lands, killing one calf and injuring five others, according to WDFW. The pack, which was first identified by the department in May, is so new it does not have an official name. The agency believes the pack is made up of three or four adult wolves and two pups. WDFW biologists were able to collar the new pack’s adult male earlier this summer.
The wolf pack is living in the Kettle River Range, the same area that the Profanity Peak Pack once occupied. WDFW killed the members of the Profanity Peak Pack in 2016. Last year, the agency also targeted the Sherman Pack nearby.
Because it’s the third year in a row the agency intends to kill wolves in the area, some conservation organizations, including those that have supported lethal removal in the past, wonder if it’s time to try something new.
“It’s a really highly desirable landscape for wolves to be in. They keep coming back,” said Paula Sweeden, policy director for Conservation Northwest. She said the area is thickly forested, steep and often roadless. Cattle there are widely dispersed, which makes it difficult for range riders to keep track of them.
Sweeden said it was clear that the nonlethal methods employed by ranchers to prevent wolves from preying on cattle were clearly not working, but killing wolves there was not working, either.
“Three times in the same place indicates that combination is not working,” she said. “We want to call for a step back.”

7 thoughts on “Washington State to Kill More Wolves in Ferry County

  1. WDFW/WAG Killing Wolves For Ranchers

    Killing Wolves for Ranchers and Hunters:

    Compromise and cooperate (collaborate) with ranchers on public land, on wilderness land: the Wedge Pack, the Huckleberry Pack, the Profanity Peak Pack, now the Togo Pack and another “Profanity Peak Pack” are in the area and targeted ( Kettle Range Pack) are in the “compromise and cooperate” Line of Fire.

    “WDFW Director Kelly Susewind today authorized department staff to lethally remove wolves from a new pack that has repeatedly preyed on cattle on federal grazing lands in the Kettle River Range of Ferry County. WDFW staff have confirmed that on six separate occasions since Sept. 4, one or more members of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) pack killed one calf and injured five others on a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) grazing allotment. The pack occupies the same general area as the Profanity Peak pack in 2016.”
    https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/updates.php

    “Defenders of Wildlife is committed to the principles of collaboration and coexistence embodied by the Wolf Advisory Group. But we believe that WDFW’s decision to authorize lethal removal of wolves from the unnamed Kettle Range pack is inappropriate. The failure to implement appropriate nonlethal methods and adapt grazing practices is counter to the foundation of the 2017 Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol.”

    https://newsroom.defenders.org/wdfw-orders-lethal-removal-in-unnamed-kettle-range-wolf-pack/

    It seems that everyone, all the players are missing the real problem: ranchers running livestock on leased public land in wolf territory displacing wildlife, encroaching on wolves, damaging ecosystems. Non lethal management techniques are highly desirable and preferred and more effective, but some not practical in rough, hilly, remote country where stock is just turned out to roam the countryside. In any case there will be predation, without a doubt. The solutions are that these welfare ranchers bear the costs, the losses, as the price of doing business, that no wolves be killed for them, and we find a way to get away from such leases. Otherwise, it is never ending encroachment on the wild. No habitat, no wild.

    “Advisory Groups and Management Boards
    2016 WAG updates on wolf conservation and management activities

    Wolf Advisory Group Members

    Wolf Advisory Group Membership Roster
    Guidelines

    WDFW Advisory Group Handbook
    Contact Wolf Advisory Group

    Donny Martorello
    Wolf Policy Lead
    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
    360-902-2515
    donny.martorello@dfw.wa.gov
    Wolf Advisory Group

    “All wildlife species present management challenges, especially wolves and other large carnivores that sometimes prey on livestock, pets, and other animals. As the state’s wolf population continues to grow, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is actively working with livestock producers, hunters and others to minimize conflicts that may occur, recognizing that public acceptance is essential for wolf recovery to succeed on a statewide basis.”
    https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/wag/

    “New Washington wolf pack may face lethal removal
    A wolf pack roaming northeast Washington is being blamed for a handful of attacks on livestock. The unnamed pack is roaming the area where the Profanity Peak pack was almost entirely killed off in 2016.
    Author: Alison Morrow
    Published: 5:22 PM PDT September 11, 2018
    Updated: 8:44 AM PDT September 12, 2018
    Conservation groups are asking the state not to take lethal action on the latest wolf pack attacking livestock in northeast Washington. The pack is roaming the same range where the state has already killed wolves from two other packs in past two years, making this the year third year in a row a pack has faced lethal action.”
    https://www.king5.com/article/tech/science/environment/new-washington-wolf-pack-may-face-lethal-removal/281-59320227

    Conservation Northwest, on the Wolf Advisory Board (WAG) of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) gets one right in WDFW’s latest intentions to kill wolves for ranchers on your public land, saying it is too early to make such a judgment.

    Hunting and Conservation | Conservation Northwest
    Conservation Northwest › resources › hu…
    We support science-based wildlife management and Fair Chase hunting according to the laws and regulations of the State of Washington. In fact, we have several passionate hunters on our staff. https://www.conservationnw.org/about-us/resources/hunting-and-conservation/

    Our Work | Conservation Northwest
    Conservation Northwest › our-work
    Conservationists, farmers, Indigenous and First Nations peoples, hikers and climbers, hunters and anglers— we all share a love for wildness, wild animals, and careful stewardship of the natural legacy we leave for our …https://www.conservationnw.org/our-work/

    Conservation Northwest is heavily into “compromise and cooperate”, stewards-of-the-land (hunter and rancher mentality) North American Model of Wildlife Conservation (NAMW), a consumptive model hunter focused, which guides state wildlife agencies today and dates back to Aldo Leopold and Teddy Roosevelt days, so more hunter and rancher friendly naturally (read minimization of predator populations, especially wolves, because of exaggerated impact on hunters and ranchers, but they, at least temporarily gets one right.

    https://www.conservationnw.org/news-updates/statement-on-wolf-depredations-profanity-area/

    • Yes. It is the cost of doing business as a rancher, and many more are lost for other reasons than wolves. I wouldn’t trust that they don’t try to finagle losses to other reasons and blame wolves, because they can the way this ‘system’ is set up.

  2. I don’t understand. Is this the same six cattle that the Togo pack wolf was killed for, and the rancher isn’t satisfied that enough were killed? Is this a different rancher bitching or more cattle? I have to say, 6 doesn’t seem like a big enough loss to raise this kind of a ruckus over.

    It isn’t very forthcoming to manage wildlife in this way, and sneaky. ‘Federal grazing land’ is public land, and ranching doe not take precedent, although it often seems like it does.

  3. Well, in other news – the grizzly hunt has been delayed an additional two weeks. Read it and weep (tears of joy):

    https://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Judge-to-decide-on-grizzly-bear-hunts-in-Idaho-13225793.php

    I just find it odd that two weeks ago, a wolf was killed, and now two weeks later, more wolves are slated to be killed. It’s not very good use of the taxpayers’ money to send out helicopter gunners twice – even thought the taxpayers’ money is an endless font to some.

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