SEATTLE— The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife today issued a kill order for endangered wolves from the Old Profanity Territory pack in northeast Washington.
Last summer the department gunned down a female wolf and pup from the same pack after conflicts with livestock. Today’s kill order follows a reported predation on July 6. So far the department has killed 22 wolves, almost all on public lands, with 18 of them killed on behalf of the same rancher, who is grazing cattle in known wolf territory.
“More wolves will die because our state officials reach for lethal means with lightning speed, just to appease the ranching industry,” said Sophia Ressler, Washington wildlife advocate and staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “When ranchers graze their cattle on public lands in prime wolf habitat, conflicts are inevitable. Our wildlife pays the ultimate price for the state’s unwillingness to find more peaceful and wolf-friendly solutions.”
This same area has seen various livestock-wolf conflicts in the past several cattle-grazing seasons. The wild terrain and presence of deer and elk make the area ideal habitat for the gray wolf but the steep slopes and downed timber make it terrible for cattle grazing because it is difficult to monitor the cattle to know where they are or keep them safe.
After wolves have been repeatedly killed in this area, new wolves have moved in. The repeated kill orders prompted the Center to send Governor Jay Inslee a June letter in which more than half a million people voiced their objection to the slaughter of gray wolves in Washington.
“We have seen time and again that shooting wolves doesn’t keep them from this area, so another kill order is absurd,” said Ressler. “It’s time to find a new location for the cattle rather than continue to kill off endangered species. I’m deeply saddened by the department’s decision.”