WA Togo Pack Saga
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
August 29, 2018
A Ferry County, Washington rancher claims he recently shot at a wolf in self-defense, and although state wildlife investigators were initially unable to find evidence that the wolf had been shot, it was recently confirmed that a wolf was indeed injured. The radio-collared male wolf is a member of the Togo pack that has been involved in repeated livestock depredations. State officials had issued a kill order on members of the pack, but wolf advocates won a temporary restraining order to stop the lethal-control action.
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, "On Aug. 27, four days after a Ferry County livestock producer reported shooting at a collared adult wolf in self-defense, a WDFW wolf biologist and a county wildlife specialist located the animal – injured but mobile – in the Togo pack territory in northeast Washington. Radio signals and recent GPS locations from the collared wolf led biologists to the vicinity where they saw and identified the wounded animal as the adult black male from the Togo pack.
The wolf biologist got within approximately 20 yards of the injured wolf and saw that its left rear leg appeared to be broken below the knee. Within seconds, the wolf ran into a wooded area. A remote camera in the area showed that the adult female from the Togo pack had been nearby the night before.
Based on their experience with other animals, WDFW wolf managers believe the injured wolf has a good chance of surviving, and the department will continue to monitor its movements. If the wolf does not remain active, the department will consider whether it should be euthanized.
The department is also continuing its investigation into the shooting incident."
Here’s the WDFW Aug. 20 press release on the temporary restraining order:
"A Thurston County Superior Court judge on Aug. 20, 2018, issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from lethally removing one or more wolves from the Togo pack in northern Ferry County.
Earlier in the day, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind had authorized the staff to take lethal action in response to multiple confirmed livestock depredations by the pack since last November, including three confirmed incidents in the last 30 days. Judge Chris Lanese granted the restraining order sought by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands, which filed the request for injunction following Susewind’s authorization of lethal action. The judge said the plaintiffs’ complaint met the criteria for a temporary restraining order under the state Administrative Procedures Act.
Lanese told WDFW and the plaintiffs to return to court on Aug. 31 for a hearing on a preliminary injunction, to determine whether to replace the restraining order with a longer-lasting court order.
In announcing his decision, Lanese specified that his ruling applied only to the Togo lethal removal decision."
Togo Pack - Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
Wolf Watch - by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!