Wolves killed a calf on private industrial timberland this week and the attack, which is the latest in a series this month, could prompt the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to kill some wolves from the Togo pack.
On Wednesday, WDFW staff investigated a dead calf in a private industrial timberland allotment in the Togo pack territory, according to a WDFW news release.
The investigation revealed several bite marks, lacerations and punctures covering the hamstrings, hips and around the tail head on both sides of the calf, with subcutaneous hemorrhaging on the left side from the hamstring to the tail head.
WDFW staff who conducted the investigation determined the calf died as the result of a confirmed wolf depredation, according to an agency news release. The decision was based on the nature and location of the injuries (consistent with wolf depredation) and wolf sign and activity in the area. WDFW staff estimated the calf was killed one to two days prior to the investigation. Following the investigation, WDFW staff removed the carcass remains.
The pack has been blamed for several attacks in the past 10 months, including a probable injury of a calf in August and the confirmed injury of a calf that same month. Wolf-livestock conflict started again in May with the confirmed death of a calf, followed by a confirmed injury to a calf and now the confirmed death of a calf.
The Togo wolf pack has a minimum of seven members, per the state’s 2021 wolf survey. In 2021, the Togo pack was targeted by state shooters following repeated livestock attacks, but no wolves from the pack were killed. WDFW spent $3,109.87 on that unsuccessful effort.
There were a minimum of 206 wolves and 33 packs in Washington state in 2021, according to an annual survey conducted by state and tribal biologists.
The livestock producer who experienced the most recent depredation has been in regular communication with WDFW staff, conducted carcass sanitation, removed sick or injured livestock when found, and has reported any suspected depredations, according to WDFW’s news release.
The producer also used Foxlights and a radio-activated guard box where the cattle gather overnight. The producer increased range riding from one part-time rider to one full-time and two part-time riders when cattle were turned out on May 20. Following the most recent depredation, one of the part-time riders is now transitioning to full time.
WDFW has documented three depredation events in the past 30 days and five depredation events in the past 10 months implicating the Togo Pack, resulting in two dead and three injured livestock since Aug. 17, according to the agency.
WDFW can authorize the killing of wolves per its lethal removal policy if wolves have attacked or killed livestock three times within the past 30 days or four times within 10 months. Two nonlethal deterrents must be deployed before kills can occur.
Agency staff are in discussion with how to address this situation and will provide a recommendation to WDFW Director Kelly Susewind.
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