Inside the Outdoors: The wolves of Washington

An ever more interesting conversation, this discussion of wolves and their status, behavior, and management here in our state. There seems almost no action ranchers in now-wolf-country, and the wildlife managers of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), can propose or take to deal with livestock depredation that doesn’t trigger protest and a court battle. The conflict over DFW policy has been bubbling over the past decade and more.

Over the years since the 2009 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), titled “Wolf Conservation and Management Plan for Washington” was released, a number of wolves and entire packs have been killed after persistently preying upon domestic livestock. Nearly all of the lethal removals have been in and around the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington. The removals took place following one or another DFW policy — each of which required that stockmen carry out some extensive level of non-lethal means of separating livestock and wolves over some time period. The latest removal in the Colville area was in August, just before a restraining order was issued in a Seattle courtroom.

As a geographer and lifelong wildlife nut, the management goals for wolves in our state — in the context of other western state wolf recovery goals — seemed to me so unrealistic that conflicts were inevitable. Consider the following bit of western state geography (areas suitable wolf habitat are from the Federal Register (02/08/07, Vol. 72, Num. 26), and the human populations are from the 2007 U.S. Census Bureau.

Thus, in Washington we have a human population of four to thirteen times the other “wolf” states, a population density of five to nineteen times theirs, and “suitable habitat” only eleven to 15 percent of theirs. Yet, in each of the other states, the goal for delisting was 100 wolves (10 breeding pairs), while Washington’s goal was 15 breeding pairs/packs of wolves (about 150 animals) before delisting. The clock has been ticking ever louder over the past decade.

At last 2018 population survey, DFW biologists estimated Washington’s wolf population at a minimum of 126 individuals, 27 packs, and 15 successful breeding pairs.

The number of wolves across the state has reached a point that many are pushing for delisting of wolves from any statethreatened or endangered list, and turning wolf management over to DFW — similar to management in other western states. To that end, DFW officials have begun a broad public outreach effort.

In late summer wildlife officials scheduled a series of 14 open public meetings across the state to begin assessing possible changes to the state’s wolf-management policy. Within a week or two, officials changed those meetings to online discussions, citing a fear of violence rising from a number of unspecified threats of both violence and disruption.

After the Nov. 15 deadline, your next opportunity will come once the agency drafts an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in late 2020. That draft will evaluate actions, alternatives, and impacts related to long-term wolf conservation and management.

Want to know about the wolves here in Paradise? This coming Monday evening (Nov. 11) Steve Wetzel (DFW Wildlife Conflict Specialist), with DFW Statewide Wolf Biologist Ben Maletzke will be speaking of the Wolves of Kittitas County. This is the program for the monthly meeting of the 100-year-old Kittitas County Field & Stream Club, at the Hal Holmes Center, 7:00 p.m. You and your friends are welcome for what promises to be a very interesting Veteran’s Day evening.

Jim Huckabay is retired from the Department of Geography at Central

WDFW extends wolf comment period

Mon., Nov. 4, 2019

This Feb., 2017,  photo provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shows a gray wolf in Oregon's northern Wallowa County. (AP)
This Feb., 2017, photo provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shows a gray wolf in Oregon’s northern Wallowa County. (AP)

The chance to comment on how Washington’s gray wolves should be managed once they are no longer a state endangered species has been extended until Nov. 15.

This gives people more time to submit input, especially those in rural areas without internet service, according to a news release from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The postrecovery management plan requires public comment before the state can move forward.

The public can provide input through 5 p.m. on Nov. 15. After that, the next opportunity will be in late 2020 when WDFW evaluates actions, alternatives and impacts related to long-term wolf conservation and management.

“The current plan the department uses to guide wolf conservation and management was started in 2007 and developed over five years, specifically to inform wolf recovery. Because wolves are moving toward recovery in Washington, it is time to develop a new plan,” WDFW wolf coordinator Julia Smith said in a news release. “This is just the start of the process, so if you don’t get your input to us by Nov. 15, there will be more opportunities in 2020.”

For more information, background, and frequently asked questions on wolf postrecovery visit WDFW’s website wdfw.wa.gov.

An online survey and online commenting are also available online. There is also a comment form that can be printed and mailed to the department or general comments can be mailed to Lisa Wood, SEPA/NEPA Coordinator, WDFW Habitat Program, Protection Division, P.O. Box 43200, Olympia, 98504. Comments submitted via mail must be postmarked by Nov. 15.

Washington Court to Hear Arguments Friday on State Agency’s Wolf-Killing

OLYMPIA, Wash.— Thurston County Superior Court will hear arguments tomorrow in a case challenging the killing of endangered wolves by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The case is being brought by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands.

“We’re hopeful the court will protect Washington’s endangered wolves from the state’s reckless killing program,” said Amaroq Weiss, the Center’s senior West Coast wolf advocate. “The majority of Washingtonians want these magnificent animals to recover and thrive, not be gunned down for the private, for-profit livestock industry.”

What: Hearing in Center for Biological Diversity et al. v Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife et al. (No. 18-2-05620-34), a case challenging the department’s killing of state-endangered wolves in violation of state law

When: 9 a.m., Friday Nov. 1.

Where: Thurston County Superior Court, 2000 Lakeridge Drive SW, Building 3, Olympia, WA 98502, courtroom for the Honorable John C. Skinder.

The plaintiffs are represented in the case by the law firm of Animal & Earth Advocates PLLC. The Center’s lawyer and a Center representative will be available after the hearing for questions.

Background

Since 2012 the state has killed 31 state-endangered wolves, nearly 25 percent of the state’s confirmed population of 126. Of those 26 were killed on behalf of the same livestock owner. Those kills have now led to the eradication of four entire wolf packs, including the OPT pack this year, the Sherman pack in 2017, Profanity Peak pack in 2016 and Wedge pack in 2012.

In 2017 and 2018, the plaintiffs — the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands — filed several lawsuits challenging the state’s wolf-killing program. The 2017 case was declared moot after the state destroyed the pack at issue, but the court has since required the department to provide eight hours’ public notice of any new kill operation, to allow plaintiffs or other members of the public time to seek a temporary restraining order.

In late summer and fall of 2018, the state agency issued new kill orders for members of the Togo, OPT and Smackout packs. A lawsuit was filed by the Center and Cascadia in November 2018 to challenge the kill orders on all three packs, and it is this lawsuit the court will hear arguments on tomorrow.

The court will decide whether to dismiss claims brought under Washington’s State Environmental Policy Act. That law requires analysis of, and public involvement in, any state actions that may harm the environment. The wildlife advocates argue that the department has failed to do this required analysis.

Washington’s wolves were driven to extinction in the early 1900s by a government-sponsored eradication program on behalf of the livestock industry. The animals began to return from neighboring Idaho and British Columbia in the early 2000s, and their population had grown to 27 confirmed packs by the end of 2018.

But wolf recovery in Washington is still a work in progress. Wolves remain absent from large areas of the state, and although the population has been growing, it remains small and vulnerable.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

Cascadia Wildlands educates, agitates, and inspires a movement to protect and restore Cascadia’s wild ecosystems. We envision vast old-growth forests, rivers full of wild salmon, wolves howling in the backcountry, and vibrant communities sustained by the unique landscapes of the Cascadia bioregion.

Washington State Kills Wolf Mother to Protect Cows

Friday, October 4, 2019 – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials announced today that they killed a female member of the Grouse Flats wolf pack on September 25. She was believed to be the mom.

On September 24, in accordance with the agency’s controversial Wolf Plan and 2017 wolf-livestock interaction protocol, Director Kelly Susewind authorized the incremental “removal” of wolves following livestock depredations in Grouse Flats territory on both private lands and state wildlife areas in southeast Washington.

The announcement of the killing comes after Governor Jay Inslee expressed concern over the state’s Wolf Plan:

“We must find new methods to better support co-existence between Washington’s livestock industry and gray wolves in our state. The status quo of annual lethal removal is simply unacceptable.”

Since 2012, WDFW has killed an estimated thirty one endangered wolves and pups, has obliterated entire wolf families (including the Old Profanity Territory pack in August), and has caused countless packs to fragment as a result of targeting individual wolves.

Moreover, peer-reviewed research demonstrates that employing lethal action to deter depredation on cows can even result in increased attacks.

Enough is enough.

Please contact WDFW Director Kelly Susewind and respectfully ask him to stop the assault on Washington’s wolves.

Inslee asks Washington wildlife agency to kill fewer wolves, pursue new management methods

UPDATED: Tue., Oct. 1, 2019, 9:05 p.m.

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee heads out after speaking with reporters, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Seattle. Inslee is seeking changes in how the state deals with problem wolves in Ferry County, in an effort to reduce the number of gray wolves that are being killed. (Elaine Thompson / AP)
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee heads out after speaking with reporters, Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019, in Seattle. Inslee is seeking changes in how the state deals with problem wolves in Ferry County, in an effort to reduce the number of gray wolves that are being killed. (Elaine Thompson / AP)

Kill fewer wolves.

That was the message Gov. Jay Inslee sent to Washington’s wildlife management agency in a letter, Monday.

“We must find new methods to better support co-existence between Washington’s livestock industry and gray wolves in our state,” Inslee said in the letter. “The status quo of annual lethal removal is simply unacceptable.”

Inslee acknowledges that in most cases Washington’s wolves are existing peacefully with livestock and people. According to agency statistics 90% of Washington’s wolves aren’t causing problems. He also praised the state’s Wolf Advisory Group, which has members representing cattle, conservation and business interests.

However, in northeast Washington it’s been a summer of conflict with wolves killing and injuring cattle, prompting the state and, in some case, ranchers to kill wolves, in turn prompting environmental groups to sue the state.

In response to the state-ordered killings, Inslee urged a reexamination of policy and procedure in parts of northeast Washington where WDFW has repeatedly killed wolves charged with attacking cattle.

“For reasons that are not entirely clear, numerous conflicts with livestock producers have occurred in a handful of federal grazing allotments,” the letter states.

He also asked WDFW to work more closely with the U.S. Forest Service to work to reduce such conflicts with wolves, “including changes in allotment policies for public lands that are prime wolf habitat, the addition of more intensive range riding, and other proven or promising methods.”

Inslee requested WDFW respond to his requests by Dec. 1.

WDFW responded to the letter by issuing a statement that said reducing wolf kills “ is a top priority” for the agency and that the repeated depredations in the Kettle Range is “greatly impacting” all involved.

“The forest conditions and livestock operations in this particular landscape make it extremely challenging, and unfortunately, has resulted in repeated lethal removal actions,” WDFW’s statement said. “We all share the perspective that something has to change to reduce the loss of both wolves and livestock in this area. WDFW believes this is consistent with the Governor’s request.”

In an email, WDFW spokeswoman Staci Lehman said no immediate changes have been made and “there will be discussion in the coming weeks to see what/if anything changes.”

WDFW killed all members of the Old Profanity Territory wolf pack this summer, after repeated cattle attacks on public land. That pack inhabited the geographic area formerly occupied by the Profanity Peak pack until the state killed seven pack members in 2016.

Wolf advocates and others have questioned whether that land, which is particularly thick and steep, is suitable for grazing. A lawsuit filed by three individuals and supported by a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group alleges that the cattle ranchers and the state did not use nonlethal deterrents prior to ordering the killing of the OPT pack.

WDFW has also ordered the killing of wolves in the Togo pack and the Grouse Flats pack, although as of Tuesday the state hadn’t killed any of those wolves.

Inslee’s letter was greeted enthusiastically by Chris Bachman, wildlife program director at the Spokane-based Lands Council.

“It’s been pretty amazing and pretty emotional,” he said. “I think that’s a huge success for conservation and for the wolf.”

Bachman has written Inslee a number of letters questioning whether non-lethal deterrents were being used and if the thick, steep terrain is a suitable place to graze cattle.

Inslee’s letter, Bachman said, gives his group and others “leverage” to push change in WDFW policy and procedure.

Mitch Friedman, executive director of Conservation Northwest, also supported the letter and its message.

“Our core position is that the collaborative process and nonlethal deterrents are the answers,” he said. “As long as the governor and other political, elected officials are making statements in line with that, I’m happy.”

More money is already being funneled into nonlethal measures this year after passage of a new law that directs the state to spend nearly $1 million over the next two years on nonlethal deterrents in northeastern Washington.

The letter comes after several out-of-state groups have publicly campaigned Inslee and the state to change how it manages wolves.

The Center for a Humane Economy, an animal-welfare group based in Washington D.C., ran a full-page ad in the Seattle Times July 21 protesting the state’s handling of wolf-cattle conflicts.

Some in northeast Washington view suchoutside pressure as out-of-touch and provocative.

“I think it’s people from hundreds of miles away throwing hand grenades,” Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, told the Northwest Sportsman in response to Inslee’s letter.

Kretz did not respond to a call seeking further comment Tuesday.

Stevens County commissioner Don Dashiell said he sees the governor’s letter as a political move.

“He’s just gotten enough pressure from wolf advocates to think he has to say something about it,” he said.

Dashiell doesn’t expect it to change much.

“It wasn’t like the department was running around killing wolves all over the place,” he said “So how can we tell the difference?”

Friedman with Conservation Northwest acknowledged that some stakeholders may see Inslee’s letter as overreach but said hehopes it doesn’t cause critics to “disengage” from the Wolf Advisory Group’s collaborative process.

“It might bruise feelings for a bit, but it’s truthful,” Friedman said. “I think we’re all adults and we’ll play our roles, and hopefully we find solutions together to face the challenge and come through it.”

WDFW seeks input on wolf management

The state indicates four gray wolf packs, two of which include a breeding pair, in the region.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking people to take an online survey or leave comments by going to bit.ly/2ki1TMV. The department will also have interactive webinars later this month and in October where people can ask questions and find out how to provide their views.

Comments may also be mailed to WDFW — Wolf Post-Recovery Plan Scoping, PO Box 43200, Olympia, WA 98504-3200. The deadline to submit comments is Nov. 1.

Washington’s wolf population was virtually eliminated in the 1930s but has rebounded since 2008. The numbers have now grown to the point where wildlife officials expect wolves to be removed from the endangered species list in Washington in the next few years.

The state agency maintains a map of gray wolf packs on its website and shows four in this region, including:

the Touchet pack, with at least four wolves including a successful breeding pair in southern Columbia County as well as the upper Whiskey Creek and Coppei Creek areas of Walla Walla County,

the Butte Creek pack, also in southern Columbia County, with at least two wolves but not considered a breeding pair,

the Tucannon pack with a minimum of two wolves not considered a successful breeding pair in southern Columbia and Garfield counties,

(STAFF REPORTS)

WDFW maintains they are the primary responding agency for wildlife issues…

WDFW released a statement in response to the recent billboard by the Stevens County Cattlemen that says “Predator attack? Fight back! Call your local sheriff!” The state agency said they have talked with sheriffs from both Stevens and Ferry County who agree that WDFW is still the primary responding agency for problems with wildlife issues. The statement was written by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Region 1 Director Steve Pozzanghera.

“Public safety is always the number one priority at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), just like at law enforcement agencies. Any incident involving wildlife is taken very seriously. WDFW responds to reported wildlife incidents by first dealing with the immediate situation and then working with those impacted on ways to prevent future conflicts with wildlife,” the statement said.

“WDFW also works cooperatively with area sheriffs’ offices and other local law enforcement on a daily basis. All northeast Washington agencies refer wildlife calls to WDFW. I have spoken with sheriffs Brad Manke and Ray Maycumber from Stevens and Ferry counties, and they agree that WDFW is the primary responding agency for problem wildlife issues.”

“Citizens can report wildlife incidents through their Fish and Wildlife Office at 877-933-9847, Washington State Patrol, and their Sheriff’s Office. In an emergency situation, please call 911.”

Federal Judge Blocks Killing of Ferry County Wolf

file photo
https://www.kpq.com/federal-judge-blocks-killing-of-ferry-county-wolf/

The lone surviving member of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) wolf pack has been spared by the stroke of a federal judge’s pen.

IFiberOne News reports the Friday ruling was made just days after the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced it had already eliminated four of the pack’s five members in an effort to curtail their depredation of livestock.

The lawsuit was filed by a pair of Seattle residents with the backing of the animal rights group Center for a Humane Economy, which is based in Washington D.C.

The suit had initially sought a restraining order to prevent the lethal removal of wolves from the OPT pack, which was denied by the judge.

The same judge ruled Friday that “due diligence on non-lethal methods” had not been properly explored by the state and ranchers who were impacted by the predations.

“Having to carry out lethal removals of wolves is a difficult situation and something the department takes very seriously,” said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman in an email to the Spokesman Review. “WDFW makes every effort to make a responsible decision after considering the available evidence. We appreciate the time the court put into reviewing this material and will work with the court throughout the process ahead.”

The suit contends the WDFW acted illegally and failed to properly follow the policies of the state’s Wolf Advisory Group by reauthorizing the order to lethally remove the OPT pack.

A series of WDFW investigations had shown the pack responsible for 29 depredation incidents.  Director Kelly Susewind reauthorized the lethal removals on July 31, in response to continuing depredations of cattle on federal grazing lands in the Kettle River range of Ferry County.  The removal decision was made with guidance from the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the lethal removal provisions of the department’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol.

The OPT pack has been involved in 14 livestock depredations in the last 10 months, with nine in the last 30 days, and a total of 29 since Sept. 5, 2018. The livestock producer who owns the affected livestock took several proactive, nonlethal, conflict deterrence measures to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock, and WDFW will continue to monitor for wolf activity in the area and work closely with producers.

The OPT inhabits the same area as the Profanity Peak Pack, which the state killed seven members of in 2016.

WDFW asking for public comment on management of wolves

(PRESS RELEASE)

WDFW asking for public comment on Sept. 4 in Colville…

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has opened a public comment period to gather input on how the department will manage wolves in Washington post-recovery.

Biologists are confident that Washington’s wolf population is on a path to successful recovery. Since 2008, the state’s wolf population has grown an average of 28% per year. WDFW documented a minimum of 126 individuals, 27 packs, and 15 successful breeding pairs during the last annual population survey.

“Long-term sustainability and persistence of Washington’s wolf population will always be a department priority,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. “We know that Washington wolves are doing well, and it’s our responsibility to be prepared to help wolf and human populations coexist in the same landscape.”

Although it may be a few years before meeting wolf recovery goals, WDFW is preparing for when wolves are no longer designated as state or federally endangered by developing a post-recovery conservation and management plan. It will guide long-term wolf conservation and management.

As part of using the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA) process, WDFW will include an extensive public input and engagement process to develop the plan. This involves preparing a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) that will evaluate actions, alternatives, and impacts related to long-term wolf conservation and management. The department will develop the draft EIS based on feedback, and the public can review and comment on the draft once it is complete.

“The department currently uses the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, adopted in 2011, to guide wolf management activities in Washington,” said Julia Smith, WDFW wolf coordinator. “However, the 2011 plan was developed specifically to inform and guide Washington wolf recovery while wolves are considered threatened or endangered. The new plan will focus on how the department will conserve and manage wolves after their recovery.”

Public input and feedback is vital to this effort. The public scoping comment period is open from Aug. 1, 2019 through Nov.1, 2019. You can share your thoughts by taking an online survey at https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/species-recovery/gray-wolf/post-recovery-planning, or by attending one of the following 14 public scoping open houses in your community:

Spokane
Sept. 3, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Spokane Community College (SCC), The Lair Student Center, Building #6, Sasquatch and Bigfoot Room 124 & 124C, 1810 Green St., Spokane, WA 99217

Colville
Sept. 4, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Agriculture & Trade Center, 215 S. Oak St., Colville, WA 99114

Clarkston
Sept. 5, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Quality Inn and Suites, Half Mahogany Room, 700 Port Drive, Clarkston, WA 99403

Chelan
Sept. 11, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Chelan Fire Station, 232 E. Wapato Ave, Chelan, WA 98816

Pasco
Sept. 25, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Franklin PUD auditorium, 1411 W. Clark St, Pasco, WA 99301

Selah
Sept. 26, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Selah Civic Center, 216 S. 1st St., Selah, WA 98942

Mt. Vernon
Oct. 7, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, 10441 Bayview-Edison Rd., Mt. Vernon, WA 98273

Issaquah
Oct. 8, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Eagle Room, City Hall, 130 E. Sunset Way, Issaquah, WA 98027

Kelso/Longview
Oct. 9, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Red Lion Hotel and Conference Center, 510 Kelso Drive, Kelso, WA 98626

Morton
Oct. 10, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Lyle Community Center, 700 Main Street, Morton, WA 98356

Olympia
Oct. 15, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Natural Resources Building (Room 172), 1111 Washington SE, Olympia, WA 98504

Goldendale
To be determined

Port Angeles
Oct. 29, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Peninsula College, House of Learning (Longhouse), 1502 E. Lauridsen Blvd., Port Angeles, WA 98362

Montesano
Oct. 30, 2019 – 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Montesano City Hall, 112 N. Main St., Montesano, WA 98563

A webinar will also be available for those who are interested. It will be from 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17. It can be viewed here or from the home page of WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone (360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see https://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/reasonable_request.html

Wolf kills calf on WA Fish and Wildlife lands in Asotin Co.

Video: KREM 2

Based on the combination of tissue damage with associated hemorrhaging and wolf locations, WDFW staff classified the even as a confirmed wolf attack.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The video above is about a different story where Washington lawmakers looked to find non-lethal methods of curbing wolf issues in Eastern Washington.

ASOTIN CO., Wash.– The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Friday that an investigation into the death of a calf in Asotin County indicated a wolf was responsible for the calf’s death.

WDFW discovered a dead 400 to 450 lbs. calf in a 160-acre fenced pasture while working on the agency’s Ranch Wildlife Area July 8, according to the report posted on WDFW’s website. Conflict staff contacted the livestock producer, who has authorization to graze livestock on the land through a lease with WDFW and conducted an investigation on site.

WDFW staff’s investigation of the calf’s carcass revealed hemorrhaging and tissue damage on the calf’s left side, including the chest and lower neck area, front and back of the front leg, lower portion of the rear leg and tooth punctures and scrapes on the inside of the lower leg and groin, according to the WDFW report. WDFW also documented hemorrhaging and tissue damage on the calf’s right side, including the chest and lower neck area, rear side of the front leg continuing into surrounding tissue behind the leg, the area in front of the rear leg and the lower half of the rear leg, according to the report.

The report says most of the calf’s hindquarter had been consumer. WDFW removed the carcass and buried it after the investigation.

WDFW’s report says the damage to the carcass was indicative of a “wolf depredation,” the term used when a wolf kills a domestic animal.  Location data from the collared wolf in the Grouse Flats pack also showed at least one member of the pack in the vicinity during the approximate time the calf died, according to the report.

Based on the combination of tissue damage with associated hemorrhaging and wolf locations, WDFW staff classified the even as a confirmed wolf depredation, the report said.

The producer who owned the calf monitors the her by range riding at least every other day, the report said. The producer maintains regular human presence in the area, removes or secures livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves and avoids areas known for high wolf activity, according to the report.

The producer deployed Fox lights in the grazing area following the attack and will increase the frequency of range riding until cattle can be moved to a different pasture, the report said.

The Grouse Flats pack was involved in three depredation incidents in 2018, according to WDFW.

Washington Ranchers vs. wolves

RELATED: Washington OKs killing of wolf pack members preying on cattle

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