Wildlife officials in Washington have confirmed a wolf that was shot by a rancher in self-defense has been injured, but it is still mobile.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed that the GPS collared, male wolf was still on the move despite an apparent leg injury. A WDFW wolf biologist and a county wildlife specialist located the wolf and got within 20 yards of the animal on Aug. 27. The biologist said the left rear leg appeared to be broken below the knee. The wolf ran into a wood area just a few seconds after being spotted.
A rancher reportedly shot at the wolf in self-defense on Aug. 23 while the cattle producer was checking on his cow herd. At the time wildlife officials did not believe it had been injured.
The male wolf is a member of the Togo pack which has been responsible for six cases of livestock depredation since November, with three cases occurring in August over a 10 day period. The pack includes at least one adult female and an unknown number of pups born this past year. The female was seen in the same area the night before when it was spotted on a remote trail camera.
The depredation cases resulted in WDFW pursing lethal action to control the wolf pack under the guidance of the 18-member Wolf Advisory Group lethal removal rule. However, a lawsuit was filed by two activist groups that has halted the kill order until a court hearing on Aug. 31 can determine any further action.
WDFW wolf managers believe the male wolf will have a good chance to recover from its injury. The department
According to Capital Press, a rancher who has cattle on a neighboring allotment lost a calf to the wolves in May. Rancher Ron Eslick says the wolves are changing how he’ll graze his cattle as he plans to cut back on the amount of cows he runs.
Mountain lions have proven to be a problem for Eslick as well. He lost two of his sheep to a mountain lion and he opted to sell the remaining five sheep he owned.
“It’s going to get worse. It’s not going to get better. The writing’s on the wall,” Eslick says of the problem with predators in the region.
Eslick’s concerns appear to be warranted as the WDFW reported the wolf population in Washington has been on the rise for nine straight years. Following the department’s annual winter survey it was determined there are at least 122 wolves, 22 packs and 14 successful breeding pairs in the state. The survey determined that the Togo pack was one of four new packs in the east of the Cascade Mountain range.
In 2017, there were five different wolf packs involved in at least one livestock mortality. During 2017 at least eight cattle were killed while another fiver were injured.
For more information about the livestock depredation cases involving the Togo wolf pack in Washington read the following stories: