Removal of Wolf Pack Authorized in Washington After 16 Cattle Attacks

After 16 separate attacks on livestock, wildlife officials in Washington have approved the lethal removal of the remaining pack members.
After 16 separate attacks on livestock, wildlife officials in Washington have approved the lethal removal of the remaining pack members.
(Multimedia Graphic Network, Inc.)

The lethal removal of a wolf pack in Washington has been approved by wildlife officials following repeated attacks on cattle.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Kelly Susewind made a reauthorization for staff members to kill two remaining wolves in the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) pack. The pack has already had two wolves killed in September following a number of livestock depredations.  That left an adult female and a juvenile wolf left in the pack that is running through the Kettle River Range of Ferry County.

An evaluation period was enacted by WDFW as part of the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the department’s protocol to determine if the pack was still preying on livestock and if additional lethal measures would be needed.

Three additional attacks by the OPT pack were observed from Oct. 5-11 with calves grazing on U.S. Forest Service allotments being attached. One of the attacks was confirmed to have occurred after the first two wolves were removed.

Additional steps were taken to limit interactions between the cattle and wolves. However, another depredation was observed on Oct. 23 bringing the total number of attacks by the OPT pack to 16 wolf depredations. The last two attacks helped warrant the decision by Susewind under guidance from the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

The impacted rancher had been using range riders to help reduce the likelihood of wolf interactions and is also in the process of removing cattle from the grazing allotment. The cattle were to be removed by Oct. 15, with approximately 90% taken off the allotment by that date. Because of the rugged terrain and dense timber there are still some cattle left to take off the range.

The cattle are being transported via stock trailers to private grazing lands just west of the Kettle Crest. Those pastures are still within outskirts of the OPT packs range and lie on lower elevations which should limit the chance of additional depredations.

The OPT pack runs in a similar territory to a wolf pack called the Profanity Peak pack that was similarly removed after a string of cattle killings in 2016 that resulted in at least 15 dead cattle. At the time there were believed to be a female and three pups remaining in the pack. The kill order came under scrutiny after it was revealed that the removal cost $135,000 and activist groups were outraged with the number of wolves removed.

Earlier this grazing season a male wolf was killed in northern Ferry County after the Togo pack had preyed on livestock six times since November, with three cases happening during a 10 period in August. The Togo pack removal saw backlash from activists groups who sued to stop the kill order. During the waiting period for a court hearing a rancher shot at the male wolf in self-defense, resulting in an injury to the wolf before a final kill order was approved.

According to WDFW 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 five were injured.

For more information about the livestock depredation cases involving wolf packs in Washington read the following stories:


Latest News

Winter cattle feeding
Cash Cattle Weaker As Grain Rallies

Cash cattle prices slipped lower throughout the week as packer demand was called moderate. Grain markets posted a significant rally on the heels of USDA's report on Tuesday.

2 hours ago
Packing plant workers
Fired Tyson Managers: ‘Betting Pool’ Stories Distorted

Former Tyson Foods Waterloo, Iowa, plant managers dispute claims of how an "office pool" regarding COVID-19 was portrayed in news stories and deny it was about how many employees would contract the virus.

1 hour ago
Dream Lake with Hallett Peak in the background, at Rocky Mountain National Park.
Hi-Plains Researchers To Help Protect Rocky Mountain National Park

A Texas A&M AgriLife team will work with the Colorado Livestock Association and other stakeholders to refine and evaluate practices to reduce agricultural ammonia emissions into Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park.

12 min ago
AL Ranch
Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. Launches “MBA NextGen”

MBA NextGen updates the popular MBA training modules making it easier than ever for a new generation of farmers and ranchers to share their story and advocate knowledgeably for the beef industry.

8 min ago
Greg Henderson
Overall Meat Sales Higher In 2020

Meat sales - both dollar values and volume - were significantly higher in 2020. Those gains, however, came at the expense of a crippled restaurant and food service industry that may take years to recover.

9 min ago
Progressive Beef
Progressive Beef and Wendy’s® Advance Partnership

Wendy's announces 15% increase in percentage of beef sourced through Progressive Beef-certified producers in 2020; on track to meet goal of at least 50% this year.

14 min ago