Wolf News Roundup 8/11/19
by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online!
August 11, 2019
Conflicts involving federally protected Mexican wolves killing cattle in New Mexico and Arizona are increasing this year, with at least 88 head of cattle killed so far. The official wolf count in the region is 131 wolves.
California Department of Fish & Game officials have found that the state’s only wolf pack now has at least three pups. The Lassen pack (which has recently been involved in livestock depredations) now consists of at least two or three adults with three pups. Although state and federal officials spent nine days in late June trapping to radio collar wolves in this pack, efforts have so far been unsuccessful. In addition to the Lassen pack, officials have confirmed at least three other wolves in the state.
In response to a series of livestock depredations, Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife lethally removed a radio-collared adult male member of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) wolf pack on July 13. Since the removal, the OPT pack has been involved in seven depredation incidents (two killed and five injured livestock), and a total of 27 since Sept. 5, 2018 (depredation activity is summarized in every monthly wolf update). WDFW’s approach to incremental lethal removal consists of a period of active operations followed by an evaluation period to determine if those actions changed the pack’s behavior.
On July 31, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind reauthorized WDFW staff to lethally remove wolves from the OPT pack in response to repeated depredation of cattle on federal grazing lands in the Kettle River range of Ferry County under the guidance of the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the lethal removal provisions of the department’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol.
"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 goal of lethal removal, as described in the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, is to manage wolf-livestock conflicts to minimize livestock losses without undermining the recovery of a sustainable wolf population. The purpose of the lethal action in the OPT pack is to change pack behavior to reduce the potential for continued depredations on livestock while continuing to promote wolf recovery.
WDFW provided one business day advance public notice before initiating lethal removal activity. That was just enough time for the Center For a Humane Economy to hurry to court to request an injunction to stop the lethal removal of wolves. After stepping down as CEO of the Humane Society of the United States amid a flurry of sexual harassment complaints, Wayne Pacelle is now president of the Center For a Humane Economy.
According to WDFW, "A King County Superior Court Commissioner has denied a motion for a temporary injunction that would have prohibited the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from lethally removing wolves from the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) pack in Ferry County.
"As a result, the department can remove wolves from the OPT pack as authorized July 31 by WDFW Director Kelly Susewind.
"Although it is not currently named as a petitioner, the Maryland-based Center for a Humane Economy has taken credit for seeking the injunction, through two Seattle plaintiffs, one day after the department announced Susewind’s authorization. On Aug. 1, the King County Superior Court Commissioner said the petitioners had not met the criteria for temporary injunctive relief. The court will hold a preliminary injunction hearing on Aug. 16. WDFW will provide the court with a status update on any additional depredations, wolf removals, and the producer's efforts to deter livestock depredations before the hearing."
The wolf activists filing the lawsuit have suggested that the cattle should be removed from grazing allotments in the Colville National Forest.
In other Washington wolf news, on Friday, August 9, Director Susewind authorized Department staff to lethally remove the two remaining wolves from the Togo pack in response to repeated depredations of cattle on grazing lands in the Kettle River range of Ferry County.
The Department has documented three wolf depredations in the last 30 days and four in the last 10 months. During one of those depredations, a livestock producer shot a wolf during a caught-in-the-act scenario where the producer responded to a wolf depredating his livestock. The proactive non-lethal deterrents used by the two producers in the area have not curtailed repeated depredations.
Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife officials have confirmed wolf presence in eastern Oregon. Game cameras documented the presence of two wolves together, but it does not appear that the two have pups, according to the Blue Mountain Eagle.
An adult male wolf originating in northern Michigan traveled more than 2,000 miles in a tour of three states before being killed by a vehicle in Minnesota, according to the Duluth News Tribune. Check out the story linked below.
Local villagers killed an animal in a remote village in Bangladesh after reports of livestock depredations. As it turns out, the animal they killed was a wolf – a species not officially present in the country, although there have been numerous reports of wolf presence since the late 1940s. Read the details at the link below.