OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Wednesday that it is giving a reprieve to the four remaining members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack that it said was preying on cattle in northeast Washington.
This comes after the state killed seven members of the pack.
WDFW Director Jim Unsworth said that the department will continue to monitor the four remaining wolves – an adult female and three juveniles – and will renew efforts to remove wolves if they resume preying on livestock this year.
“The goal of our action was to stop predations on livestock in the near future,” Unsworth said. “With the pack reduced in size from 12 members to four and most livestock off the grazing allotments, the likelihood of depredations in the near future is low.”
Since Aug. 5, state wildlife managers have shot and killed seven members of the pack after non-lethal deterrence measures failed to stop the pack from preying on cattle in the grazing area in Ferry County. Another wolf, a pup, is presumed to have died of natural causes.
As of Oct. 3, WDFW had documented 15 dead or injured cattle, including 10 confirmed and five probable wolf depredations.
The Profanity Peak pack is one of 19 wolf packs documented in Washington earlier this year. Sixteen of those packs – including four identified since the previous year – are located in the eastern third of the state, where wolves were delisted from the federal Endangered Species Act in 2009.
Under the law, WDFW can take lethal action against wolves only if field staff confirms four or more attacks on livestock within a calendar year, or six or more attacks within two consecutive calendar years. The protocol also requires ranchers to employ specified non-lethal measures designed to deter wolves from preying on their livestock before WDFW will take lethal action against wolves.