Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife officials announced late today they will kill members of the Profanity Peak pack in Ferry County. The kill order was issued following investigations concluding the wolves recently killed three calves and a cow and that three other calf deaths are probable wolf kills. All of the losses occurred on public lands grazing allotments, in territory occupied by the Profanity Peak pack. The decision was made under the guidelines of a new lethal removal protocol that was agreed to this spring by the state Wolf Advisory Group, a stakeholder group convened by the Department of Fish and Wildlife that includes agency staff and representatives from the ranching, hunting and conservation community.
“We appreciate the agency’s use of nonlethal measures to try to prevent losses of both livestock and wolves, and are glad to hear the ranchers in question have been working cooperatively with the state, but we are deeply saddened that wolves are going to die,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf organizer at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We are not part of the advisory group but have made clear to the group that we don’t support the killing of the public’s wildlife on public lands.”
According to the protocol agreed to by the advisory group, lethal removal of wolves is considered after four confirmed depredations in one calendar year, or six confirmed depredations in two calendar years. The protocol also requires that the affected ranchers have employed sanitation measures to avoid attracting wolves to livestock carcasses and have tried at least one proactive measure to deter conflicts with wolves at the time the livestock losses took place.
“It’s tragic to see wolves killed, and I hope we continue to see growing wolf populations in Washington despite the yearly culling that inevitably takes place, said Nick Cady, legal director at Cascadia Wildlands. “I do not believe it makes sense to spend taxpayer dollars to kill wolves in remote roadless areas on public lands.”
“The decision to kill wolves is always a sad event, and one that should not be taken lightly” said John Mellgren, staff attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. “But it is even harder to stomach when that decision relates to wolves on our publicly owned lands.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.
Cascadia Wildlands educates, agitates, and inspires a movement to protect and restore Cascadia’s wild ecosystems. We envision vast old-growth forests, rivers full of salmon, wolves howling in the backcountry, and vibrant communities sustained by the unique landscapes of the Cascadia Bioregion. We like it wild. Join us at: www.cascwild.org
The Western Environmental Law Center is a public interest nonprofit law firm. WELC combines legal skills with sound conservation biology and environmental science to address major environmental issues throughout the West. WELC does not charge clients and partners for services, but relies instead on charitable gifts from individuals, families, and foundations to accomplish its mission. www.westernlaw.org