ENDANGERED SPECIES — Washington Fish and Wildlife officials say they plan to kill more wolves in northern Stevens County to curb a spree of attacks on cattle.
After confirming that wolves killed one calf this week and injured another, the agency intends to kill up to three members of the Wedge Pack, Madonna Luers, department spokeswoman said Friday.
“Our officers will try to trap and put a radio collar on at least one more wolf in the pack for monitoring,” she said. “Then the intent is to lethally remove up to three more wolves to disrupt the pack and reduce its need to feed so many mouths.”
The Wedge Pack roams the Colville National Forest area the Diamond M Ranch leases for grazing between the Columbia and Kettle rivers. Wolf attacks have been confirmed on at least five of the ranch's animals in the past four weeks, including two calves killed.
A female non-breeding wolf in the pack was killed by department officers on Aug. 7 after wolves had killed a calf and injured two others. The kill was the first by the agency under its wolf management plan adopted in 2011. Although gray wolves in Eastern Washington are protected by state endangered species laws, the plan allows lethal removal in some cases.
Remote camera images indicate the Wedge Pack includes at least a breeding pair, a few sub-adults and a few pups, but the exact number of wolves isn’t known, Luers said.