Three More Attacks on Cattle by Washington Wolf Pack

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A Washington wolf pack that had two wolves removed from the pack earlier in the fall has since committed three more cases of livestock depredation.

Officials at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed on Oct. 19 that multiple attacks on cattle occurred by the Old Profanity Territory (OTP) pack from Oct. 5-11. The three additional attacks bring the OTP pack’s depredation total to 15 cases in the past year.

In the latest string of depredations the first attack occurred four days to week before WDFW staff confirmed on Oct. 5 that a calf had been injured by wolves. The calf looked like it had been attacked two separate times by the wolves. One injury to the calf happened within 24 hours of the WDFW staff being alerted while the other was four days to a week prior. The calves had multiple bite lacerations with puncture wounds and tissue damage.

Another calf was confirmed to be attacked by WDFW on Oct. 7 when older, healed injuries were found on the outer right hindquarter and right flank of the calf.

Finally, on Oct. 11 a calf from the same area was viewed by WDFW to have injuries consistent with a wolf attack. The calf had tissue damage and lacerations that appeared to be from an attack two weeks prior.  

The attacks found on Oct. 7 and 11 appear to have happened prior to or during the first wolf removals in the OTP pack. The Oct. 5 depredation looks like it was after two wolves had been removed from the OTP pack, this would allow additional wolves from the pack to be removed under the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and WDFW protocol. However, no decisions have been made by Kelly Susewind, WDFW director, regarding additional wolf removals from the OTP pack.

The first wolf to be euthanized from the OTP pack was a juvenile member of the pack that was shot from a helicopter on Sept. 16. A second wolf was removed from the pack after being killed by a WDFW marksman on Sept. 28. The second wolf was an adult female wolf believed to be the breeding female. There are believed to be two wolves remaining in the Old Profanity Territory pack, an adult male and a juvenile. WDFW says the pack is still under an evaluation period after the last wolf removal.

The OTP pack is roaming through a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment that is entirely in the pack’s territory in northeastern Washington. The rancher who had been grazing the allotment with cattle has been using several preventative measures, including:

  • Using range riders to keep watch over his herd
  • Calving outside of occupied wolf range
  • Using foxlights at salting locations in high wolf use areas
  • Delaying turning out cattle until July 10 – a month later than usual – when calving is finished and the calves are larger and less prone to predation
  • Removing or securing livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd
  • Removing sick and injured livestock from the grazing area

The foxlights have since been removed because the cattle are no longer visiting the salt lick site where the lights were present.

Should WDFW find additional wolf depredations on livestock, Susewind will consider the information in determining whether to initiate another lethal removal action.

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

 

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