ENDANGERED SPECIES -- State workers have killed six wolves so far in an effort to eliminate the cattle-killing Profanity Peak Pack in Ferry County, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department reported today.
The operation using helicopter gunners north of Sherman Pass will continue, said Donny Martorello, the agency's wolf policy leader. The pack was estimated to total 11 animals, including six pups, when the lethal control action was authorized on Aug. 4.
Since mid-July, WDFW has confirmed that wolves have killed or injured six cattle and probably five others, based on staff investigations.
Two adult female wolves from the pack were killed by state shooters on Aug. 5. When the pack continued to attack cattle, Fish and Wildlife Director Jim Unsworth on Aug. 19 authorized field staff to remove the remaining members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack to prevent additional attacks on cattle in the range lands between Republic and Kettle Falls.
Four wolves were killed Aug. 21 and 22, including two adult males and a female pup. The fourth wolf has not been recovered in the rugged terrain, Martorello said.
The Profanity Peak pack is one of 19 known wolf packs in Washington. Based on a media release from a pro-wolf group, the Associated Press is reporting that the elimination of the Profanity Peak Pack would reduce Washington's known wolf population by 12 percent.
That's probably not true. The population estimate issued by Washington wildlife officials this spring said the state had a MINIMUM of 90 wolves that were confirmed in 19 known packs. Field staff say there likely were more wolves at large at that time. Since spring, some of those packs had pups, bringing the population even higher.
So it's silly to be fussing over population figures from pro-wolf propaganda machines. It's also a bit silly to be reporting, as AP did today, that an out of state pro wolf group is outraged that a Washington pack is being eliminated. It's not news that some people are outraged when wolves are killed. Nor is it news that some people want all wolves eliminated, although that wasn't noted in the AP report.
The Profanity Peak pack is being eliminated under a protocol hammered out by the various factions in the state's Wolf Advisory Group. These are people who live here.
The world will not end if measured lethal control continues.
Other wolves will soon fill that niche in Ferry County if the Profanity Peak Pack that acquired a taste for beef can be eliminated.
Then maybe national forest cattle allotment issues can be worked out and fine tuned to make sure grazing isn't done in areas near dens or pack rendezvous areas or other areas that are high risk for wolf attacks.
Maybe things can be better for the wolves and the cows next time around.