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Ferry County rancher claims to have shot wolf in self defense, wildlife officials investigating

UPDATED: Fri., Aug. 24, 2018

State wildlife officials are investigating the reported shooting of a member of the Togo wolfpack.

A Ferry County rancher said he shot at the adult wolf in self-defense, Thursday. The alleged shooting was within the Togo pack range, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife news release.

However, WDFW staff who investigated Friday morning were unable to find “evidence that the wolf had been shot.” The wolf was collared. The collar can detect if the animal has died, according to the release. According to the collar the wolf is still alive.

On Monday, WDFW ordered the lethal removal of wolves from the Togo pack in northeast Washington. However, environmental groups quickly filed a lawsuit temporarily blocking the action.

That order came after six documented cattle depredations in the past 10 months by the Togo pack. Three of those cattle kills occurred within the past 30 days. The most recent documented depredation occurred when one or more wolves injured a calf on a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment in Ferry County, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife news release.

In a statement Thursday, Conservation Northwest decried the environmental groups effort to block the lethal-removal order.

“Lawsuits and polarization haven’t worked out well for wolves elsewhere, so we see little upside in spreading those tactics to Washington, where wolf recovery is going relatively well overall” said Mitch Friedman, Conservation Northwest executive director in a news release. “Instead of polarization, our focus is on collaboration and long-term coexistence.”

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