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Sunday, February 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports >  Outdoors

Judge rejects effort to temporarily halt killing of wolves

UPDATED: Fri., Sept. 14, 2018

FILE - This April 18, 2008 file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife shows a grey wolf. A federal report says gray wolves killed a record number of livestock in Wyoming in 2016, and wildlife managers responded by killing a record number of wolves that were responsible. The report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that wolves killed 243 livestock, including one horse, in 2016 in Wyoming. As a result, wildlife managers last year killed 113 wolves that were confirmed to be attacking livestock. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gary Kramer, File) ORG XMIT: LA112 (Gary Kramer / AP)
FILE - This April 18, 2008 file photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife shows a grey wolf. A federal report says gray wolves killed a record number of livestock in Wyoming in 2016, and wildlife managers responded by killing a record number of wolves that were responsible. The report released by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that wolves killed 243 livestock, including one horse, in 2016 in Wyoming. As a result, wildlife managers last year killed 113 wolves that were confirmed to be attacking livestock. (AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Gary Kramer, File) ORG XMIT: LA112 (Gary Kramer / AP)
By Nicholas K. Geranios Associated Press

A Washington state judge on Friday rejected efforts to temporarily block the killing of wolves that are preying on livestock in Ferry County.

Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy turned down a request from a conservation group for a temporary restraining order to block the killing.

The Center for Biological Diversity contended that killing wolves ignores science, causes long-term environmental harm and goes against the wishes of the great majority of state residents.

“We’re disappointed this kill order remains in place but we’re hopeful the courts will eventually stop this tragic string of state-sanctioned wolf killings,” said Amaroq Weiss, wolf advocate for the center.

She said Washington had a “trigger-happy approach to wolf management.”

It was not immediately clear when the wolf hunts would begin.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife on Wednesday approved killing one or more members of a new wolf pack that had attacked cattle near the Canadian border in northeast Washington. Wolves had killed a calf and injured five others on federal grazing land in Ferry County since Sept. 4, the agency said.

The new wolf pack has been dubbed the Old Profanity Territory Pack because the attacks occurred in an area once occupied by the Profanity Peak pack. The Profanity Peak pack was killed by the state in 2016 for preying on cattle.

Wolves were killed off in Washington early in the last century. But the animals started returning to the state early in this century from Idaho and Canada. There are at least 122 wolves in 22 packs in the state, according to the latest annual survey.

The agency contends that killing off some or all of the new pack will not harm recovery efforts.

Wolves are protected as an endangered species throughout the state. But a protocol developed by the agency and others to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock allows the state to kill wolves if officials confirm a certain number of livestock attacks within a certain time period.

The state has killed a total of 19 wolves in recent years, including a member of the Togo pack earlier this month.

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