ENDANGERED SPECIES -- One wolf from the Smackout Pack in Stevens County has been killed by a ground-based government shooter in an effort to change the behavior of a pack that's killed at least five cattle since September.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials have reported the wolf was killed last week. Wolves otherwise are protected as state endangered species.
Another attack on a calf was confirmed last week, perhaps while authorized shooters were in the area. Rancher Len McIrvin said in a release by the Stevens County Cattlemen's Association that the calf was still alive after being severely bitten and ripped apart by wolves and its mother was standing over the bloody young animal when they discovered the scene.
After one of the pack wolves is removed, the state's plan calls for giving the pack a chance to change its livestock-killing ways before staff attempts to kill more wolves.
Following is a report on the status of the operation just posted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
One wolf removed from Smackout Pack
The 2017 Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol describes tools and approaches designed to influence pack behavior with the goal of reducing the potential for recurrent livestock depredation while continuing to promote wolf recovery. On July 20, WDFW notified the public that non-lethal deterrence measures were not achieving that goal in the Smackout pack territory, and that the director authorized incremental lethal removal of wolves as another tool to address recurrent depredations.
The department’s approach to incremental removal consists of a period of active removal operations followed by a period of evaluation to determine if those actions met the goal.
The protocol states that once a removal operation has begun, the department will update the public weekly on the number of individuals removed. Lethal removal actions began one week ago, and during that week the department removed 1 wolf.
The protocol also states that in most situations the period of active removal will be two weeks or less. Removal operations are ongoing, and the department will provide another update in one week.