WDFW reauthorize lethal action for OPT wolf pack

Staff reports
Staff Writer

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind reauthorized staff to lethally remove wolves from the Old Profanity Territory wolf pack today, following a string of seven depredation cases since the removal of a radio-collared adult male on July 13.

In total, the pack has been involved in 27 depredation cases since Sept. 5, 2018, with 12 within the last 10 months. WDFW reports show the most recent case of three wounded calves on a livestock producer's stock in Ferry County was not considered in the decision.

“The chronic livestock depredations and subsequent wolf removals are stressful and deeply concerning for all those involved,” Susewind said. “The department is working very hard to try to change this pack's behavior, while also working with a diversity of stakeholders on how to prevent the cycle from repeating.”

The Wolf Conservation and Management Plan describes the goal of lethal removal as, “to manage wolf-livestock conflicts to minimize livestock losses without undermining the recovery of a sustainable wolf population.”

Before the authorization, two proactive deterrence measures were implemented, but did not effect the pack's behavior.

The WDFW report said that the lethal removal of wolves in the OPT pack is not expected to harm the wolf population's ability to reach the statewide recovery objective. The next update on the reauthorization will come on Aug. 6.