As three dozen people wave signs outside WDFW headquarters, a state wolf manager inside the building said that with a judge this morning again rejecting advocates’ request for a temporary restraining order, agency marksmen will carry out an order targeting a pack that’s attacked six calves this month.
Donny Martorello says that local staffers in Northeast Washington have air, ground and trapping options at their disposal as they attempt to lethally remove one or two members of the Old Profanity Territory Pack.
It runs in rugged mountain country of northern Ferry County, where WDFW has previously had to kill eight wolves to try and head off livestock depredations in 2016 and 2017.
The OPT wolves — three to four adults and two juveniles — are confirmed to have injured five calves and killed another between Sept. 4 and 11.
Parts of the carcasses of three more calves were found in the immediate area, but their cause of death couldn’t be determined
WDFW reports the producer — identifed as the Diamond M Ranch in a news story — has been moving the cattle herd to the west but that 20 head remained in the area.
Producer Len McIrvin told the Capital Press that he had already lost an estimated 30 to 40 animals.
The state believes that without lethal action the losses will continue and hopes to change the pack’s behavior by incrementally removing members.
Not far to the north, the options are tougher with the Togo Pack, which has now attacked cattle seven times since last November, with the most recent incident coming after a sharpshooter killed the adult male.
Rather than kill the adult female and worry that the two pups might starve, WDFW is going to try a “spank and release” strategy, capturing one of the pups, outfitting it with a collar, and letting it go.
Martorello says that sort of negative stimulation might help prevent further conflict, but also that telemetry data will be given to the local producer and a RAG box set up in their pasture to try and help prevent more attacks.
Back in Olympia, for a second time in two weeks Thurston County Superior Court Judge Carol Murphy denied a Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands request for a temporary restraining order, again because they hadn’t met the criteria for injunctive relief through the state’s Administrative Procedures Act, according to WDFW.
The agency also said that the groups had actually asked for the TRO after the eight-hour challenge window following the kill order announcement had passed, so perhaps it was all just for theatrical purposes, what with today’s prowolf rally and “die-in.”
Indeed, as Northwest Sportsman spoke to Martorello, he moved to a window in the Natural Resources Building and said he could see 30 to 40 protesters outside holding signs.
Meanwhile, other wolf advocates are choosing to focus their work in the hills.
Martorello added that Judge Murphy expedited a hearing on the merits of the CBD et al’s lawsuit against WDFW over the Togo and now OPT kill orders and is encouraging all parties to schedule it before the end of the year.