Washington wildlife managers report that they have lethally removed a pair of wolves from the territory of the pack known as the WA139 group following a series of calf depredations this spring and summer that weren’t halted by nonlethal tactics.
WDFW says an adult male and a yearling female were removed and the lethal take authorization has now expired, though the agency said it could go back in if more livestock attacks occur.
The authorization from Director Kelly Susewind came on August 23 after six calves were either confirmed or probably killed by wolves. The depredations mostly occurred on private grazing lands but also on a Forest Service allotment, and the cattle were owned by four different producers who had been using a range of nonlethal, proactive deterrence methods, according to WDFW.
The WA139 group is named after a Tucannon female that dispersed into Northeast Oregon, either by itself or with other wolves, in late January, and since has settled in Asotin County.
The Spokane Spokesman-Reviewreported last week that the pack at that time was believed to consist of “four or five adults and an unknown number of pups.”
“WDFW discussed the impacts of removing up to two wolves from the WA139 group territory and determined the current level of mortality should not negatively impact the ability to recover wolves in Washington,” the agency said in announcing the operation last week.
The two wolves are the first lethally removed in Washington this year and the first since early last fall, in Northeast Washington.