The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued a kill order for an entire wolf pack in the northeastern part of the state. There are between eight and 11 wolves in the Wedge Pack. Government officials and ranchers in Stevens County believe the pack is to blame for two more injured calves this week.
There have already been 15 attacks on cows in recent months, despite ongoing efforts by ranchers. Officials killed one young female pack member earlier this summer. Now the state Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced that they will try to kill all of the remaining members.
Jack Field is with the Washington Cattleman’s Association, which applauded the department’s move.
Field: “The ranchers are doing everything they physically and legally can do. In this case, and in any time there’s chronic depredation, we need to remove the problem wolves to save the good wolves.”
Mitch Friedman with Conservation Northwest called the situation a crisis, but acknowledged that the removal may be necessary.
Friedman: “The predation events seem to be almost daily at this point, but we can only support eliminating a pack in this situation if we know we’re not going to end up right back here again in a year from now.”
This is the first major test of the state wolf management plan that was approved earlier this year.
Copyright 2012 KUOW