Posts tagged: livestock
ENDANGERED SPECIES — “We don't know that we got them all, but we couldn't find any more,” said Dave Ware, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department Game Division manager, explaining the agency's decision today to wrap up its mission to eliminate the Wedge Pack of wolves that have been preying on cattle in northern Stevens County.
The sixth wolf in three days was killed this morning by an agency sharpshooter in a helicopter just south of the U.S.-Canada border in the “wedge” area between the Columbia and Kettle rivers. The wolf killed today was the alpha male, who'd was wearing a GPS collar and was easy to locate. Also killed this week was the breeding female and four other adult wolves
A young female wolf from the pack had been killed by a state marksman on Aug. 7.
The one pup from the pack's 2012 litter that had been trapped and tagged was found dead of undetermined causes last month
The KING 5 TV video above shows the alpha male and the pup during their capture and release earlier this summer.
That totals 8 wolves, but doesn't explain the whereabouts of several other pups thought to have been born this year.
“The pups do a lot of howling when they're weaned, but we didn't near the howling earlier this summer, so we don't know what happened,” Ware said.
“Could there be other wolves out there? Yes. We'll be monitoring. If we found one in the near future, we'd have to think about what to do. The ones we've found in the past few days have all been adults. So we've accomplish the objective and disrupted the pack. If we see something soon, we'll deal with it.
“But if we get tracks or howling a couple of months from now, it may not be a member of this pack. It could be more wolves dispersing from Canada. We'd approach that case differently. Wolves are going to come back to the wedge sooner or later. It's good habitat.”
The Diamond M Ranch, which had at least 17 cattle attacked or killed this summer on public and private land, is pulling the cattle out of the area, but the ranchers told Ware that some of the livestock can't be rounded up in the rugged forest. All of the cattle don't come in until the snow flies.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say a helicopter gunner killed the alpha male of a cattle-preying wolf pack today, concluding the mission to eliminate the Wedge Pack in northern Stevens County.
The wolf was shot just south of the U.S.-Canada border in the third day of aerial shooting that claimed six wolves, agency director Phil Anderson said in a media release. The alpha male has been wearing a GPS since early summer, when it was caught and released by a state wolf researcher.
The state has been following the GPS signals of the alpha male to locate the pack, which officials have been targeting for elimination since Saturday.
The pack's alpha female was killed earlier this week, Anderson said. A younger female wolf was shot by an agency staffer on Aug. 7 during the first lethal efforts to curb attacks on cattle that started in early July.
How do you know you have the entire pack, considering WDFW originally estimated the pack included at least eight animals? WDFW state wildlife manager responds.
A Spokesman-Review photographer has been attempting to get photos of the effort, but was told by agency staff on the scene that they could not include him in the activities or make any official comments. One staffer did say that none of them enjoyed what they were doing, but that they were doing their job.
“Directing the pack’s removal was a very difficult decision, both personally and professionally, but it was necessary to reset the stage for sustainable wolf recovery in this region,” Anderson said. “Now we will refocus our attention on working with livestock operators and conservation groups to aggressively promote the use of non-lethal tactics to avoid wolf-livestock conflict.”
With the latest operation concluded, Anderson said the department would continue to monitor wolf activity in the Wedge region as it is doing in other parts of the state. While some WDFW staff were working full time with the Wedge Pack for most of the summer, other staffers have been working to document wolf activity in Okanogan, Chelan and Kittitas Counties, the Blue Mountains and elsewhere in Northeast Washington.
Read on for more background and details.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Three wolves from the Wedge Pack in northern Stevens County were killed by a shooter in a helicopter today as the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife continued its effort to stop persistent attacks on livestock by eliminating the pack.
Since early July, Wedge Pack wolves are believed to have killed or injured at least 17 cows and calves from the Diamond M Ranch herd ranging on both private and public land between the Columbia and Kettle Rivers southwest of Laurier, Wash.
Department Director Phil Anderson said a WDFW marksman shot the wolves from a helicopter at about 8 a.m. The wolves were shot about seven miles south of the U.S.-Canada border in the same area where two other wolves from the Wedge Pack were killed by aerial gunning yesterday.
Biologists estimate the pack includes 8-11 wolves. Before this week's kills, the state shot a wolf on Aug. 7 when it was still believed the pack could be thinned and dispersed without eliminating the pack.
One wolf, thought to be the pack's alpha male, was trapped and fitted with a GPS collar earlier this summer. WDFW officers have been monitoring that wolf to follow the pack in the rugged, remote forested country.
Anderson said a department wildlife veterinarian would perform necropsies on all five of the wolves killed this week.
For more information on the situation, see the WDFW's Wedge Pack Lethal Removal Actions FAQ
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Pro-wolf groups aren't all standing by as Washington Fish and Wildlife staffers try to eliminate the cattle-preying Wedge Pack in northern Stevens County. Here's a form letter being promoted by the Center for Biological Diversity:
ENDANGERED SPECIES – Shooting from a helicopter, a marksman with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife killed two wolves in Northeast Washington today as part of an effort to eliminate a pack that has repeatedly preyed on livestock in a remote grazing area near the U.S.-Canada border.
The word comes from Bruce Botka, WDFW public affairs director in Olympia.
Teams of marksmen and wildlife biologists returned to an area of northern Stevens County known as the Wedge late last week, but had not killed any wolves after several days of around-the-clock activity.
Beginning Monday, the department called in a helicopter to aid the effort, and an airborne marksman shot the two wolves early this afternoon, about seven miles south of the Canadian border.
WDFW Director Phil Anderson had directed the pack’s removal last week in response to the wolves’ escalating pattern of predation on the livestock herd of the Diamond M Ranch of Stevens County. Since July, the pack of eight or more wolves is believed to have killed or injured at least 17 of the herd’s calves and cows.
The department says the attacks came despite non-lethal efforts to minimize wolf conflict by the rancher and department staff. Some pro-wolf groups say the efforts to prevent the attacks could have been more effective.
Read on for more details from WDFW.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — More information about the decision to kill the entire Wedge Pack of wolves responsible for killing wolves this summer in northern Stevens County is in my news story in today's paper.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department in conjuction with a livestock group and a wildlife conservation group have just issued statement's on the previously reported state decision to eliminate an entire wolf pack that's been attacking cattle in northern Stevens county.
“In response to ongoing attacks on livestock by a wolf pack in Northeast Washington that appears to be preying exclusively on cattle, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife today announced it plans to eliminate the pack and lay a foundation for sustainable, long-term wolf recovery in the region,” according the the WDFW statement just released.
WDFW Director Phil Anderson said the plan has the support of key conservation interests and livestock operators. Two organizations that participated in developing the state’s 2011 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan – Conservation Northwest and the Washington Cattlemen’s Association – joined the department in issuing a statement explaining their positions.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — One thing's for sure: Beef is not healthy for wolves.
At a public meeting in Colville Thursday night, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department announced intentions to eliminate the entire Wedge Pack of wolves that have killed or injured at least 15 cattle in northern Stevens County since mid-July.
This is a milestone in the controversial process of wolf recovery, the first time a wolf pack has been targeted in Washington since gray wolves were extirpated from the West with guns, traps and poison in the early 1900s. Eliminating wolf packs focused on livestock already has been employed in Montana and Idaho where the issues arose.
Statements were issued late Friday afternoon by the WDFW along with the state Cattlemen's Association and Conservation Northwest.
Details of the meeting and the agency's plan to kill the wolves are spelled out in this morning's report by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman.
For those watching this issue, the writing was on the wall.
The scenario was pretty well set up, as I illustrated in my Thursday column, when WDFW officials confirmed another wolf attack on Diamond M Ranch cattle on Sunday.
Walgamott also posted a detailed scene-setting report.
The agency posted answers to frequently asked questions on Wednesday night.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — At the request of Stevens County ranchers and commissioners, Washington Department of fish and Wildlife officials will present an update on their efforts to deal with gray wolves that have killed or injured at least 15 cattle since mid-July.
Some of the issues were spelled out in today's Outdoors column.
The cattle belong to the Diamond M Ranch which summers its livestock on a national forest grazing allotment in the “wedge” area near the Canada border between the Columbia and Kettle rivers.
Steve Pozzanghera, WDFW regional manager, will outline the agency's efforts in a public meeting set for 5 p.m. tonight (Sept. 20) in the Colville County Commissioner's meeting room (old Avista Building) 230 E. Birch Street Colville 99114. See map.
WDFW posted these answers to questions about the Wedge Pack issues on its website Wednesday.
Reading between the lines, Northwest Sportsman editor Andy Walgamott says the agency appears to be targeting more than just a few of the Wedge Pack wolves — perhaps the entire pack of 8-11 animals.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — The Washington Fish and Wildlife Department hasn't had much to report regarding its less than fruitful efforts to curb the cattle killing by gray wolves in the Wedge area of northern Stevens County. The toll is about 15 cattle confirmed killed or injured by wolves between the Columbia and Kettle Rivers since mid-July.
But a lot of other people are talking, including the Stevens County Cattlemen's Association.
Several more cattle have been found dead or severly injured since WDFW sent officers into the Wedge area in late August, but the agency has not reported any wolves being killed in the effort.
Steve Pozzanghera, WDFW regional manager, said this afternoon that the number of officers in the area is being increased after another Diamond M Ranch calf was confirmed killed by wolves in an investigation on Sunday.
Possible reasons for the lack of effective agency response are listed in this report by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman.
Read on to see a media release from the Cattlemen's association, which is raising concern about the progress of wolf recovery and wolf management.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — The Wedge Pack's appetite for livestock may spell doom for four or more of the dozen or so wolves roaming between Canada and northern Stevens County.
Two more Diamond M Ranch cattle were confirmed today.
That could bring the number of wolf depredations on the ranch's herd to 12 the cattle between the Columbia and Kettle rivers since mid July.
Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officers are in the area trying to trap and collar another wolf in the pack — one is already collared to help them monitor the pack's movements. They're also seeking to kill wolves and disperse the pack.
Department Director Phil Anderson gave an update on the Wedge Pack issue a few hours ago.
Anderson's update is detailed here in a blog post by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman Magazine.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Before taking a break for the holiday weekend, Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officers confirmed that wolves had attacked two more cattle on private land in northern Stevens County, this time on private land.
See details in this report by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman.
Today Fish and Wildlife officers have resumed their hunt to radio collar another wolf in the pack and kill up to four members of the pack in an attempt to stop the pattern of depredations on Diamond M Ranch cattle in the Wedge area between the Columbia and Kettle Rivers.
See a just-posted update on the situation, again by Walgamott, the wolf man from Northwest Sportsman.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — State officers were unsuccessful this week as they attempted to trap and possibly kill up to four wolves in northern Stevens County — but they found the carcass of a gray wolf that had died of some other means.
The carcass reportedly was decomposed and cause of death could not be determined by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff.
The graphic above shows how far the Wedge Pack has ranged in the six weeks since the alpha male was trapped, radio-collared and released. WDFW officials say the pack's full summer-winter range is likely much greater. They also noted that aerial monitoring coupled with on the ground observation show the collared male can be miles away from other wolves in the pack.
“It's a misconception that a pack always runs together,” said Steve Pozzanghera, WDFW regional manager.
Read on in this post for today's late afternoon WDFW update on the effort to deal with Wedge Pack cattle depredations.
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.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — A calf injured in a wolf attack in northern Stevens County – the fourth injured or killed in one cattle herd in four weeks – has left the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department contemplating a response, including killing one or more wolves in the Wedge Pack.
“All options are on the table,” Madonna Luers, agency spokeswoman in Spokane, said Monday.
The incident, which apparently occurred on Thursday, is the latest of several confirmed wolf attacks on the Diamond M Ranch herd near Laurier. The ranch has a Colville National Forest grazing lease in the “wedge” of land just south of Canada between the Columbia and Kettle Rivers.
In mid-July, officials confirmed that wolves had injured a cow and calf and killed another calf from the northern Stevens County ranch.
The Diamond M Ranch is owned by the McIrvin family. In 2007, the ranch also suffered Washington’s first documented wolf livestock depredation in roughly 70 years.
Last year, state officials adopted a wolf management plan to deal with expanding wolf packs, which remain protected by state endangered species laws.
“This latest attack is a continuation of a pattern of wolf-livestock problems in the wedge,” Luers said. “The wolf plan allows several possible responses, including lethal removal, in cases of repeated depredation after other methods have been tried.”
The response likely will be decided todayTuesday, she said.
Steve Pozzanghera, director of WDFW's eastern regional office in Spokane, was not available for comment.
Following the last attacks on the Diamond M Ranch cattle, a Fish and Wildlife Department trapper caught an adult male wolf and released it after attaching a collar with a radio transmitter.
A pup also was caught and released, confirming the pack had reproduced this year.
A range rider also was assigned part-time to the leased area to help keep wolves away from the stock, Luers said.
She could not confirm that the radio-collared wolf – thought to be the Wedge Pack’s alpha male – was near the recent attack on a calf. She also did not know whether the range rider had confronted the wolves.
After the July attacks, the Fish and Wildlife Department issued the ranchers a special permit to kill wolves caught threatening their cattle, but it has not been used, Luers said.
PREDATORS — While the sheep will always face predators, falling victim to a wolf hasn't been a looming concern for livestock growers in Blaine County, Idaho, where a Defenders of Wildlife project is showing encouraging results.
Four years ago, Defenders began monitoring how many sheep were lost to wolves within the Wood River Valley. The Phantom Hill pack was moving through the county, taking sheep at higher rates than normal.
See what's transpired in this story from the Magic Valley News.