Togo pack update
Lethal control okayed
by Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
September 4, 2018
A Thurston County Superior Court judge issued an order permitting the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to initiate lethal action to remove the adult male wolf from a pack that has repeatedly preyed on livestock in northeast Washington.
WDFW Director Kelly Susewind welcomed the decision by Judge Carol Murphy to deny a request for a preliminary injunction by two environmental groups, the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands, which would have prohibited the wolf’s removal. In rejecting the plaintiffs’ request, Murphy said they had not met the legal standard required for her to issue an injunction.
As a result, a temporary restraining order issued by the court on Aug. 20, which has prohibited WDFW’s lethal removal action, will expire at 5 p.m. today.
Consistent with the department’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol, Susewind authorized WDFW staff to kill the adult male member of the Togo pack after investigators confirmed the pack had been involved in six livestock depredations in the past 10 months and three in the 30 days preceding Aug. 20.
A rancher said he shot at the wolf, which has been fitted with a GPS collar, in self-defense on Aug. 23. WDFW staff have confirmed the wolf sustained what appeared to be a broken leg, although it has remained mobile.
Susewind said the department would implement the lethal removal action upon the expiration of the temporary restraining order, based on the recommendation of WDFW wolf managers, who said:
There is no evidence to indicate the pack’s behavior – the killing of livestock – will change.
While the male wolf is injured, the adult female may have trouble feeding both the adult male and her two pups unless she continues to prey on livestock. It is more difficult for wolves to successfully capture wild game animals, such as deer and elk, than cows and calves.
More information about the Togo pack, including reports of the investigations into six livestock depredations attributed to the pack, are available at the link below.
Togo Pack - Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife
Wolf Watch - By Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!