Bill Introduced by State Lawmaker to Remove NE WA Gray Wolves From Endangered List

Mia Carlson / Monday, February 13, 2017

OLYMPIA, WA – A Washington State lawmaker has introduced legislation that would remove gray wolves from the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s endangered species list in four eastern Washington counties. House Bill 1872 would prohibit the agency from designating or maintaining a designation of the gray wolf as an endangered, threatened, or sensitive species in those counties along the Canadian border – areas of the state hit the hardest by predatory actions.

The bill’s sponsor, State Representative Joel Kretz, raises horses and cattle on a ranch in the mountains of Okanogan County near Wauconda.  He says he has seen firsthand the devastation of predatory gray wolves.

“We’ve got one rancher with upwards of 70 head losses this year. You can’t sustain that very long. I’m really concerned that we’ve got grazing season this spring and I’m afraid that we’ll have a lot of ranchers will be out of business this year if it goes like it has,” Kretz says.

Kretz says the federal government has already delisted gray wolves. Some 19 packs have recovered with growing populations, and 16 of those packs are in northcentral and northeast Washington counties. The 7th District lawmaker says his bill could allow the state to get a preview in the four counties of proper wolf management before the animal is finally de-listed statewide.

The bill has been referred to the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Kill Them or Move Them? Wolf Control Options Weigh on Wildlife Panel

http://www.chronline.com/news/kill-them-or-move-them-wolf-control-options-weigh-on/article_824b6554-f3ab-11e6-8060-8b4d17214337.html

Legislature: Wildlife Experts, Members of the Public Say They Prefer Relocation

  • By Matt Spaw / For The Chronicle
  • Feb 15, 2017

OLYMPIA — In a surprising turn, a state panel discussing studies of lethal means to control wolves preying on farm animals and invading humans’ territory found that non-lethal control is a more effective option.

Wildlife experts and members of the public came together at a Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting Friday to discuss wolf removal.

According to the panel, most of the state’s wolf packs are in northeastern Washington, with some in the North Cascades region. The panel was made up of Department of Wildlife experts specializing in wolves, wildlife conflict and carnivores.

Wolves present a challenge for livestock owners. Wolves are reestablishing themselves after being nearly eradicated in the early 1900s, but ranchers and others face the problem of protecting their livestock from wolf predation.

“We need to hone in on our objective. Is it tolerance? Is it to stop depredations forever?” said Donny Martorello, wolf policy lead for the state agency.

The panel went over studies about the culling of wolf populations. The studies were all peer-reviewed, but taken together were not conclusive. The primary focus of Friday’s meeting was on using lethal methods to cull wolf populations, although non-lethal means also were discussed and debated.

Most of the studies examined Friday found non-lethal methods to be more effective than lethal methods at preventing livestock death. Four of the five non-lethal tests had preventive effects, while only two of the seven lethal tests had preventive effects. Two of the lethal tests increased predation.

Non-lethal methods include fladry, which involves hanging flags that flap in the breeze and scare wolves, as well as using guard dogs for livestock.

In some areas the desired effect of culling wolf populations occurred. “Less livestock were killed. In some areas it did not work,” Martorello said. “It drives home the message that there is no perfect solution.”

The department suspended the controversial killing of Profanity Peak wolves in October. That program, aimed at killing a pack of 11 wolves, resulted in the deaths of seven and cost $135,000 before being suspended. The wolves had attacked or killed about 15 cattle.

“Wolves are one of the most studied animals on the planet,” said Scott Becker, state wolf specialist. The large number of recent studies used by the panel supported that statement.

Panel members said their own anecdotal evidence and personal experience also provide important information about wolf populations and control.

The panelists also examined public opinion of wolves and what studies say about perception.

“If one has a positive valuation of wolves, they generally like to focus on the benefits,” Becker said. “If one has a negative value of wolves, they generally focus on those costs.”

Only 61 of 358 Northern Rocky Mountain region wolf packs in the United States — or about 17 percent — were involved in at least one confirmed livestock killing, according to Becker. People are willing to accept some level of conflict with wolves, but 50 to 70 percent of that conflict occurs on private property, which could affect public perceptions.

At the meeting, public comments centered on opposition to lethal methods of wolf removal.

“We spend too much time talking about lethal removal. Could we have a panel on non-lethal control?” asked Melinda Hirsch of Conservation Northwest. “The studies are showing that those are the ones that are effective.”

The meeting will be used by the department’s Wolf Advisory Group to inform future recommendations. The group of landowners, conservationists, hunters and other interests work together to recommend strategies for reducing conflict with wolves.

•••

First ‘official’ wolf kill confirmed on Colville Reservation

First wolf kill on Colville Reservation

First wolf kill on Colville Reservation

November 21, 2016 9:21 am | Updated: 1:15 pm, Mon Nov 21, 2016.

NESPELEM—After three hunting seasons without harvesting a wolf, a Colville Tribal member has taken the first.

Duane Hall, 37 of Omak, brought a gray wolf into the Colville Tribal Fish & Wildlife office for sealing on Friday, CTFW confirmed Monday.

Just three of the estimated 18 to 20 wolves—spread out among at least three packs—are allowed to be taken, per CTFW’s predator hunting regulations.

“I didn’t really have a reaction,” CTFW director Randall Friedlander said.

Hunting group Rez Bucks, Bulls & Predators, operated by tribal member Sean Gorr, published the news on Nov. 17 at 12:45 p.m.

A share to Tribal Tribune’s Facebook was met with mixed reviews.

“Terrible,” tribal member Lorin Hutton said.

“Nice kill,” tribal member Ted Piccolo added.

“Wildlife management is a must,” Gorr stated in the conversation. “Predator control is a must. Regulated hunting seasons is a must. All that needs to happen to sustain enough big game to feed our families for generations.”

Wolf hunting season started Aug. 1 and ends Feb. 28. Three known packs exist on the Colville Reservation: The Strawberry, the Whitestone and the Nc’icn. A collared wolf was accidentally slain on the Colville Reservation during a recapturing effort by CTFW in January 2015.

Friedlander said the amount of wolves harvested—by way of rifle or trap hunting—are determined by the number of wolves.

“We try to manage for the total population,” he said, “and that’s why we allow three per year. That’s based on a percentage of the overall population (of wolves).”

He reiterated the right to hunt is an ancestral right.

“We try to create opportunities for tribal members to practice their traditional, cultural way of life,” Friedlander said. “That includes the harvesting of some predators for some tribal members. Not all tribal members harvest predators, but some do.”

In May, CTFW reduced the number of wolves that could be taken from 12 to three each season, but allowed traps to be used for the first time.

Last month, a Washington wolf from the Huckleberry Pack, which was thought to range from the Spokane Reservation north, was killed after a 700-mile trek from Washington to Idaho, Canada and then central Montana.

The Tribune has reached out to Hall for an interview.

http://www.tribaltribune.com/news/article_fc9452fc-b00e-11e6-9e94-3f2bece5e94b.html

WOLF KILLED IN CENTRAL MONTANA JOURNEYED FROM WASHINGTON

copyrighted wolf in water

Oct 24, 2016 12:45 PM MDTUpdated: Oct 24, 2016 12:49 PM MDT

GREAT FALLS –A wolf shot in September while killing sheep near Judith Gap in central Montana spent the previous three months traveling about 700 miles, starting in western Washington, according to a press release from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.

When federal Wildlife Services killed the 2-year-old male on September 29, it was wearing a collar that had been affixed in February by Washington Fish and Wildlife biologists north of Spokane.

The wolf left its pack in June, turning east into Idaho, then north in Canada. It re-entered the United States on July 4 near Eureka, Montana, heading southeast.

“By late July, it was on the Rocky Mountain Front and Washington Fish and Wildlife called to let me know,” said Ty Smucker said, a wolf specialist with MT FWP.

Smucker was notified of the animal’s location about once a week.

“The wolf came out on the Rocky Mountain Front just east of Bean Lake on July 22,” Smucker said. “Then it spent over a month and a half moving around the lower Dearborn River Country, before heading toward Square Butte west of Great Falls on September 13.”

From Square Butte, the wolf turned east, keeping to the north side of the Little Belt Mountains, emerging on the foothills of the Little Belt Mountains west of Judith Gap on September 22, Smucker said.

Responding to a report of a wolf killing sheep, federal Wildlife Services killed the collared wolf on September 29 as it was leaving a band of sheep that it had been chasing and feeding on.

“It had to travel at least 700 miles total,” Smucker said.

The young wolf was probably looking for a mate, he added.

“Wolf packs consist of breeding pairs that generally produce 4-6 pups each spring,” he said. “As young wolves mature they typically disperse from their natal pack in search of potential mates and vacant territories in which to start their own packs.”

Sometimes that search can take the animal on a long journey. In 2015, a wolf left its pack’s territory west of Missoula and ended up 600 miles north in British Columbia.

While FWP occasionally receives reports of wolves in the Little Belt Mountains of central Montana, there are currently no known packs of wolves maintaining territories or producing pups in the area.

In addition, FWP does not capture and relocate problem wolves.

Montana’s wolf population has stabilized for the past eight years at a minimum of more than 500.

“Public hunting and trapping of wolves helps manage wolf numbers in Montana,” Smucker said. “Overall, Montana’s wolf population appears to be doing quite well.”

State Stops Wolf Kill For Now as Grazing Season Ends

http://www.chronline.com/state-stops-wolf-kill-for-now-as-grazing-season-ends/article_a992da98-96e5-11e6-ba2e-cbfaf9dbc2be.html

Thursday, October 20, 2016 9:53 am

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife has stopped its hunt for the Profanity Peak wolf pack now that the grazing season on public lands in the Colville National Forest is over for the year.

Agency Director Jim Unsworth lifted his previous order to kill off the pack Wednesday. The department, though, will continue to monitor the four remaining wolves in the pack, an adult female and three young, and target them again if they harm livestock this year.

The pack once numbered 12 wolves. Since Aug. 5, state wildlife staff members have shot and killed seven members of the pack. Another wolf, a pup, is presumed to have died of natural causes.

In all, the department documented 15 dead or injured cows. Of those, 10 were confirmed to have been preyed upon by wolves. The other five probably were, according to the department.

The pack is one of 19 documented in the state so far. Most are in the eastern third of the state, where they are not protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.

Under state policy, the department can take lethal action against wolves if its field staff confirm four or more attacks on livestock in a calendar year, or six or more in two consecutive calendar years.

According to the department, ranchers in the area used by the Profanity Peak pack moved cattle onto public lands for grazing in early June. The wildlife department captured two adult members of the pack and fitted them with GPS radio collars, allowing the department to monitor the pack’s movements. By July 8, the department confirmed the first calf kill.

It was no surprise to some: Ranchers and local officials in Ferry County predicted problems with the pack, and in 2014 called for the pack’s elimination, according to the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association.

The state is targeting the pack at public expense — as yet uncounted — to protect cattle grazing by ranchers on public lands and has raised a storm of controversy in Washington and beyond that has yet to subside.

The department promises a final report on its actions with regard to the pack next month.

Meanwhile, wolf recovery is expected to build in Washington.

Wolves were trapped, poisoned and hunted out of existence in Washington in the early 1900s, in part by ranchers to keep them away from sheep and cattle. Wolves began recolonizing the state in 2008, when the first packs were confirmed in Washington, from populations in Idaho and British Columbia.

There were about 90 wolves in the state as of early 2016, most of them documented in packs in Northeastern Washington.

wp-1468782690732.jpg

WDFW suspends lethal action against Profanity Peak wolf pack

 

image

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has suspended its pursuit of the remaining members of a wolf pack that preyed on cattle throughout the summer in northeast Washington.

 

WDFW Director Jim Unsworth today lifted his previous order authorizing staff to take lethal action to stop predation by the Profanity Peak wolf pack now that most livestock are being moved off federal grazing allotments in the Colville National Forest.

 

He noted, however, that the department will continue to monitor the four remaining wolves – an adult female and three juveniles – and will renew efforts to remove wolves if they resume preying on livestock this year.

 

“The goal of our action was to stop predations on livestock in the near future,” Unsworth said. “With the pack reduced in size from 12 members to four and most livestock off the grazing allotments, the likelihood of depredations in the near future is low.”

 

Since Aug. 5, state wildlife managers have shot and killed seven members of the pack after non-lethal deterrence measures failed to stop the pack from preying on cattle in the grazing area in Ferry County. Another wolf, a pup, is presumed to have died of natural causes.

 

As of Oct. 3, WDFW had documented 15 dead or injured cattle, including 10 confirmed and five probable wolf depredations.

 

The Profanity Peak pack is one of 19 wolf packs documented in Washington earlier this year. Sixteen of those packs – including four identified since the previous year – are located in the eastern third of the state, where wolves were delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2009.

 

Unsworth said the department’s action against the Profanity Peak pack was consistent with both the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and a new protocol for the lethal removal of wolves developed this year by WDFW in conjunction with an 18-member advisory group composed of environmentalists, livestock producers and hunters.

 

Under that protocol, WDFW can take lethal action against wolves only if field staff confirms four or more attacks on livestock within a calendar year, or six or more attacks within two consecutive calendar years. The protocol also requires ranchers to employ specified non-lethal measures designed to deter wolves from preying on their livestock before WDFW will take lethal action against wolves.

 

Donny Martorello, WDFW wolf policy lead, said both of the ranchers who lost livestock to the Profanity Peak pack met that requirement by using range riders to help keep watch over their herds, and by removing or securing cattle carcasses to avoid attracting wolves. One rancher, he said, also turned his calves out to pasture at a higher weight to improve their chance of surviving an attack by predators.

 

Once the number of dead and injured cattle reached the threshold for lethal action, WDFW took incremental steps to remove wolves from the pack, as specified in the protocol.

 

Key events in the department’s involvement with the Profanity Peak pack include:

 

  • Early June: Ranchers arrived with their livestock on federal grazing allotments. WDFW field staff captured two adult members of the Profanity Peak pack and fitted them with GPS radio-collars, allowing the department to monitor the pack’s movements.

 

  • July 8: WDFW confirmed the first calf killed by wolves.

 

  • July 12: WDFW documented two probable wolf attacks, one of which was on a second rancher’s allotment.

 

  • Aug. 3: WDFW confirmed the fourth and fifth wolf attack on cattle and documented three probable wolf attacks. Per the protocol, the WDFW director authorized staff to remove some members of the pack to deter further depredation.

 

  • Aug. 5: WDFW removed two female wolves from the Profanity Peak pack.

 

  • Aug.18-19: The director ended his authorization for lethal removal after 14 days without a depredation. The next day, he authorized the removal of up to the full pack after field staff documented four more wolf attacks, two confirmed and two probable.

 

  • Aug. 21-Sept. 29: WDFW removed five more wolves from the Profanity Peak pack.

 

  • Oct 3: WDFW documented the last depredation on cattle by the Profanity Peak pack.

 

  • Oct 18: WDFW suspended lethal removal of wolves in the Profanity Peak pack.

 

Martorello said WDFW will continue to closely monitor the pack and will renew efforts to remove wolves if they return to preying on livestock this year.

 

Ferry County Sheriff Ray Maycumber said his staff will take a defensive position and monitor the movements of the adult female wolf for signs of conflict with people, pets, or livestock in lowland areas.

 

WDFW will issue a complete report of its management actions regarding the Profanity Peak pack next month.

 

The state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/mgmt_plan.html.

 

WDFW’s protocol for removing wolves that prey on livestock is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/livestock/LethalRemovalProtocolGrayWolvesWashingtonDuringRecovery_05312016.pdf

Profanity Peak wolf pack attacks another calf as hunt continues

http://www.capitalpress.com/Livestock/20161010/profanity-peak-wolfpack-attacks-another-calf-as-hunt-continues

Washington wildlife managers have confirmed that a calf found this week on private land was injured by the diminished Profanity Peak wolfpack, a sign depredations will continue until the entire pack is eliminated, according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The injured calf, found last week, was at least the 10th bovine attacked by the pack this summer, according to WDFW. The department concluded five other cattle were probably attacked by the pack.

WDFW has shot seven wolves in the pack since Aug. 5, leaving at least one adult female and three pups. The last shooting was Sept. 29.

Citing continuing depredations, WDFW wolf policy coordinator Donny Martorello reaffirmed that the department plans to eliminate the entire pack.

“Given this pattern, we do not believe recent lethal removals are likely to achieve the goal of stopping depredations in the near future,” he said in an email.

Also Thursday, Martorello reported that WDFW investigators determined Sunday that the Dirty Shirt pack had injured a cow on a state Department of Natural Resources grazing allotment.

Martorello said the rancher turned out livestock June 5. Because of the depredation, the producer is moving the livestock off the allotment, he said.

The attack was the first confirmed depredation this year by the Dirty Shirt pack. WDFW considers culling a pack after four confirmed depredations. Only the Profanity Peak has reached that threshold this year.

Although WDFW says it intends to remove the pack — an operation that has outraged some environmental groups — frustration remains high among some ranchers in northeastern Washington, said Stevens County rancher Scott Nielsen, vice president of the Cattle Producers of Washington.

Conflicts between livestock and wolves are escalating, and WDFW’s official depredation tally reflects only a fraction of the losses in Stevens, Ferry and Pend Oreille counties, he said.

Losses may come into sharper focus when the grazing season on public season is over at the end of October.

“There are a lot of people worried about what they’re going to get when they bring (cattle) in,” Nielsen said. “I wouldn’t be surprised that if in this tri-county area there were 200 livestock missing or bitten.

“Last year, we hardly had any problems,” he said. “Everybody is having problems up here this year.”

Ferry County rancher Arron Scotten said Friday he will move his cows from the Colville National Forest over the next week to avoid conflicts with wolves. That’s two weeks earlier than usual.

“We’re trying to get cattle off the allotment, and what we’re finding are the injured calves that we weren’t necessarily finding before,” he said.

He said he expects calves to be thinner and fewer cows to be pregnant because they have been harassed by wolves.

“They became habituated to beef, and everywhere we moved cattle, they would follow,” Scotten said.

National Forest spokesman Franklin Pemberton said that he knows of at least one other rancher who plans to bring in his cows early.

The Forest Service and ranchers have tried all summer to adjust grazing plans to create space between cattle and wolves, he said.

“It was a little more intensive this year than last,” Pemberton said. “The number of wolves goes up every year.”

Scotten said he’s concerned that wolves will follow his cattle out of the national forest.

“With this situation, the way it is, when we bring them home, we’ll be doing daily checks,” Scotten said.

Ending the grazing season early will lead to spending more money on hay this winter, he said.

Scotten said he plans to feed his cows closer to his house this winter and install lights in calving pens.

“We’re trying our best to do our part,” he said. “Everything we do literally has to change. We have to rethink every aspect of how we produce cattle.”

Alpha female mom and pup

The Killers Within

Alpha female mom and pup

by Stephen Capra   BOLD VISIONS CONSERVATION

Today, as it has been for many weeks, the motion-sensing cameras are in place on trees in the forest. In the few small meadows in this remote stretch just east of the North Cascades, there are bait stations being set. The goal is to kill the wildness from our forests, by destroying the wolves: in this case, the remaining pups and a single female, which is all that remains of the once great Profanity Peak Pack.

Why is it that wildness and animals such as wolves must continue to be destroyed to maintain ignorance? We are witness to a killing that goes beyond a need, goes beyond logic and is filled with terror, suffering and pain for the wolves involved.

Yet, the most disturbing aspect of this killing is not the actions by the livestock industry; their behavior and guilt in this killing is something they wear like an escutcheon on their heart. It’s the actions of those organizations that view themselves as conservationists.

Let’s be clear, it is not the work of their organizers, or those that spend countless long hours in their offices. These are good hard working people, who care very deeply about conservation and wolves. It is the direction of their Boards of Directors and those that take leadership positions in organizations that are sanctioning the destruction of these animals. They include: Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Wolf Haven International and Conservation Northwest.

I mention these names again because like many people, I believe the following:

  • The relationship between humans and wildlife is akin to a sacred trust. It is something in these times of massive exploitation of the earth we must take more seriously than ever;
  • Animals feel pain and understand humans, that relationship should not be based on fear, but trust and in our case tremendous respect and responsibility for ensuring their co-existence;
  • The protection of wilderness and the wildness that animals bring to wilderness is a gift to humanity, making it priceless;
  • As conservationists, we more than any, have the moral obligation to fight for species and wildness, it is our core mission;
  • Wolves are symbolic of all we hold dear about nature: wild nature. They are vital to maintaining balance and rewilding the lands that cattle have been placed into to subjugate that wildness, which represents our sprit and the earth in its purest form.

When organizations masquerade as defenders of wolves they must be called out. These groups want you to believe that by working within the system they are generating progress for wolves. The problem remains that this is a rigged system, one that does not understand or accept wildness, but defines land in terms of profit zones. Through such a lens, it sees ‘predators’ not balance or perfection. It allows the livestock industry to place cows in some of our wildest country so they can count the days to depredation. It Ignores pain and suffering and places an emphasis on compromise, which in this case means the savage killing of wolves.

Conservation groups that buy into this thinking are accepting from the start that wildness is somehow an abstraction. They see the killing of pups and animals in a systematic and cruel manner as the price for insider status, which helps give them fundraising superiority. Through these actions, we relinquish the moral high ground and give ranchers moral authority in negotiations.

You see, compromising and allowing the killing is the easy way out. Fighting and changing people’s opinion and understanding of wolves requires real organizing and education and will require holding a tough public stance.
There remains a real answer, but like many elections means people may have to accept not voting for the favorite, but committing to real systemic change. We can no longer allow wolves to be killed. We cannot contribute to organizations that continue to yield of the principles of wildness and species to the seduction of fundraising and the internal pressure of a sheltered group of Foundations that see only cooperation and compromise as the avenue for healthy wolf populations.  We do not need mega-groups, just like we do not need factory farms. Such corruption is directly contributing to the current wildlife slaughter.

High in the east side of the cascades as the evening takes hold a lone female tries once again through shear will to feed the packs remaining pups, cameras follow her movements. This morning once again, a chopper will hover close by, sharpshooter waiting to make his kills.  Historic estimates show that it will cost $200,000 to steal these vital lives; is this what we want for wolves? Is this making our lands healthier? The answer is simply we are continuing to feed the ignorance which has killed the spirit from our lands though these compromising actions.

Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Wolf Haven International and Conservation Northwest, the time have come to rethink your positions. You are now partners in the killing of innocents: the murder of wildness. The time has come to partner with those that seek a new vision for the West: one that involves rewilding, respect for all creatures and a vision for rural communities that goes beyond livestock. To get there will require passion, vision and a resolve that keeps the Profanity Peak pack alive in our collective hearts.

Forest Service disputes Humane Society’s Washington wolves claim

Wolf advocates protest Sept. 1 in Olympia the shooting of wolves in the Colville National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife dispute a claim by the president of the Humane Society of the United States that state wildlife managers asked the Forest Service to withdraw a grazing permit to prevent conflicts between wolves and livestock.

DON JENKINS/CAPITAL PRESS Published on September 13, 2016

Wolf advocates protest Sept. 1 in Ol

http://www.capitalpress.com/20160913/forest-service-disputes-humane-societys-washington-wolves-claimympia the shooting of wolves in the Colville National Forest. The U.S. Forest Service and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife dispute a claim by the president of the Humane Society of the United States that state wildlife managers asked the Forest Service to withdraw a grazing permit to prevent conflicts between wolves and livestock.

The Colville National Forest issued a statement Monday contradicting a claim by the national head of the Humane Society of the United States that state wildlife managers asked the Forest Service to cancel grazing to prevent conflicts between cattle and wolves.

In a Humane Society blog post Sept. 9, Wayne Pacelle, the organization’s president and CEO, wrote that the state Department of Fish and Wildlife “saw a problem brewing and asked the U.S. Forest Service to withdraw the grazing permit, but the federal agency rebuffed the request.”

Through a forest spokesman, the Forest Service said it was not asked to pull permission to graze. The agency said it has been working with state officials and advisers to prevent wolves from attacking livestock.

“There has been no request made by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife or the Washington Wolf Advisory Group to withdraw the grazing permit. The Colville National Forest will continue working closely with these organizations to help reduce predator/cattle conflicts,” the Forest Service stated.

A WDFW spokesman said the department didn’t ask the Forest Service to withdraw grazing allotments.

“We know of no request from WDFW staff — even at the field level — for the USFS to withdraw grazing permits in the allotments associated with the Profanity Peak pack,” he said in an email.

Efforts to reach the Humane Society’s national office and Washington state director Dan Paul were unsuccessful.

A member of the Wolf Advisory Group, Paul agreed last spring to a policy that allows for state-protected wolves to be killed if efforts by ranchers to prevent depredations have failed.

The policy is under attack by animal-rights activists and environmental groups, some of whom have accused ranchers of willfully putting their livestock at risk.

Washington State University wolf researcher Rob Wielgus told The Seattle Times a rancher turned out cattle “on top” on a wolf den. WSU officials rebuked Wielgus and said the comment was inaccurate.

In his blog post, Pacelle said cattle were placed “right in the center” of the pack’s range.

According to WDFW, 198 cow-calf pairs cows were released 4 miles from the pack’s den in early June. The whereabouts of the den was unknown at the time, according to WDFW.

Wolves have attacked since early July at least eight cattle in the national forest and probably attacked five others, though there too little evidence to rule out another predator, according to WDFW.

Livestock have been attacked as far away as 10 miles from the pack’s den and rendezvous sites, according to WDFW.

The department has announced shooting six wolves and says it intends to kill the Profanity Peak pack’s other five members.

Although its policy calls for at least weekly reports on the number of wolves killed, WDFW has not provided an update since Sept. 2.

Pacelle stated that the Humane Society of the U.S. wants the Washington’s wolf policy to be re-examined. “We are urging that the idea of killing an entire pack be taken off the table entirely.”

WDFW’s lethal-control policy emerged from lengthy meetings between Washington ranchers, environmentalists, hunters and animal-rights activists.

The agreement has helped ease tensions and made future collaboration on managing Washington’s growing wolf population more promising, Washington Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Jack Field said.

“I know there is a lot of attention and focus on the removal effort, but the department is following the protocol to a T,” he said.

The Wolf Advisory Group will meet Wednesday and Thursday in Issaquah. The two-day meeting was scheduled before WDFW started removing the Profanity Peak pack.

Field said he hoped conservationists on the advisory panel can withstand the pressure exerted by other environmental groups. “Because if not, we’re right back where we started,” he said.

Excerpt: Letter from Predator Defense on the slaughter of the Profanity Peak pack

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

Wildlife Photography ©Jim Robertson

The Profanity Peak wolf pack was wrongfully slaughtered. They were set up for the kill. The rancher, a known wolf-hater, put his cattle to graze on pristine, forested public land in the core of the pack’s territory. His cattle, of course, displaced the wolves’ normal prey–elk and deer. The cattle then became prey. The rancher did not use anywhere close to an adequate level of nonlethal deterrents to prevent predation. He also put salt blocks near the pack’s den, according to WDFW, which drew the cattle right to the wolves. And so, the wolves predated on the cattle.

After this WDFW’s Wolf Policy Lead had the gall to state in a TV interview: “Is that really the wolf population we want to repopulate the state? Wolves that have demonstrated that behavior and see livestock as prey items.” In other words, wolves being wolves (let alone being set up!) and doing the job nature gave them as apex predators should not be themselves?!

So WDFW has now killed at least 6 of the 11-member pack and is actively trying to kill the rest. This situation is an outrage! The slaughter of the Profanity Peak Pack must be stopped. And cattle should cease being placed in wolves’ territory unless truly adequate nonlethal control methods are in use. There are also areas where it is inappropriate to have livestock, and this is surely one of them.

Brooks Fahy
Executive Director, Predator Defense
http://www.predatordefense.org