State wildlife managers said this week they are resuming their effort to lethally remove up to four wolves from a pack that has repeatedly preyed on livestock in the Wedge region of Northeast Washington.
The most recent confirmed attacks on livestock occurred last week, when wolves from the Wedge pack injured two calves from the Diamond M ranch in northern Stevens County. Those depredations brought to 10 the number of injured and dead livestock from the Diamond M herd since July. The latest investigation was conducted by staff from the Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, and the results were reviewed and confirmed by independent wildlife biologists.
The two calves were removed from the range on August 30, one day after WDFW Director Phil Anderson temporarily suspended a 12-day effort to kill wolves from the pack to break its pattern of predation. Department staff killed a non-breeding member of the pack on August 7 but did not kill any wolves between August 18 and 29.
WDFW staff returned to the remote Wedge region, which is located just south of the Canadian border and between the Columbia and Kettle rivers.
WDFW management efforts reflect the provisions of the state Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, adopted in December 2011 by the Fish and Wildlife Commission. The plan’s primary goal is to restore the wolf population in Washington, but it authorizes lethal removal of wolves that repeatedly attack livestock when:
--There is documentation that livestock have clearly been killed by wolves;
--Non-lethal means have failed to resolve the wolf-livestock conflict;
--Livestock depredations are likely to continue; and
--There is no evidence of intentional feeding or unnatural attraction by the livestock owner.
All of those criteria have been met in the case involving the Wedge pack wolves, Anderson said.