A young wolf in Washington that is a member of a pack known for preying on cattle has been killed by a wildlife department marksman.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has confirmed that on Sept. 16 a juvenile member of a wolf pack running in the Old Profanity Territory was euthanized after the pack repeatedly preyed on cattle on federal grazing lands in the Kettle River Range of Ferry County.
A pack of four wolves was spotted from a helicopter before being shot by the marksman. According to WDFW officials, it is difficult to identify adult and juvenile wolves during this time of the year because of the size of the animals. The young wolf weighed about 50 lb.
A day after the juvenile wolf was removed it was confirmed that an adult cow had been killed in the same general area. A necropsy determined that the cow had likely been killed prior to the wolf’s removal. WDFW staff are working options to further deter the Old Profanity Territory pack and will use incremental removal action as authorized by the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. Under the plan wolves a can be removed with lethal action after preying on livestock three times in a 30 day period or four times in 10 months.
The lethal removal was authorized on Sept. 12 after the Old Profanity Territory pack attacked cattle six different times from Sept. 4 to 7. At the time the pack killed a calf and injured five calves on a U.S. Forest Service (USFS) grazing allotment. The frequency of attacks warranted incremental removal of wolves from the pack, which means one or two wolves could be removed.
Prior to lethal action being taken there were non-lethal deterrents implemented by the impacted rancher, including:
- Using range riders to keep watch over his herd.
- Calving outside of occupied wolf range
- Delaying turning out cattle until July 10 – a month later than usual – when calving is finished and the calves are larger and less prone to predation.
- Removing or securing livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd.
- Removing sick and injured livestock from the grazing area.
Two activists groups attempted to halt the kill order similar to what had been done in a depredation case in August. However, a Thurston County judge rejected the injunction that was sought by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands.
The depredation case that occurred in August eventually was addressed when a male wolf was killed in northern Ferry County by a WDWF marksman from a helicopter.
The Old Profanity Territory pack is running in an area near the Profanity Peak pack which was believed to be killed or moved territories after a similar case of cattle depredation in 2016.
For more information about the livestock depredation cases involving wolf packs in Washington read the following stories: