For the first time, state officials have killed a female wolf from a pack in northeastern Washington after repeated incidents with livestock on nearby ranches.
The Wedge Pack had attacked the cattle at ranches in the far northeastern part of the state several times before officials killed a member of the pack on Tuesday.
The ranchers had worked with officials to keep the wolves away – hiring more cowboys, putting up special fencing and radio-tagging the alpha male of the pack. But the wolves kept hunting their livestock.
Killing this female was a move to appease the ranchers and keep the pack in check. She was not the alpha female.
Nate Pamplin is the assistant director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Pamplin: “There are wolves that end up getting into trouble and, unfortunately, when wolves no longer are responding to nonlethal measures, lethal measures do become necessary.”
Wolves are on the state endangered species list in that area but as part of the new recovery plan, officials are allowed to selectively remove certain pack members.
There are eight confirmed wolf packs in Washington, the majority in the eastern part of the state.
Copyright 2012 KUOW