Wedge Pack Removed

Updated 11 a.m., Aug. 17, 2020 with statement from WDFW in new second to last paragraph

WDFW this morning issued a “final” update on the Wedge wolves, saying they have removed both remaining members of the northern Stevens County pack in response to spring and summer livestock depredations.

The agency says the adult male, adult female and a previously killed nonbreeding adult female were responsible for 16 attacks on calves belonging to three different ranchers.

The depredations began in May and continued into early August, including after the initial removal to try and head off further depredations.

On Aug. 11, Director Kelly Susewind authorized killing one or both members of the pack. They were taken out Thursday, Aug. 13, according to WDFW.

Later in the week Susewind also OKed lethally removing one of the Leadpoint Pack, a large group of wolves roaming far northeast Stevens County and Pend Oreille County responsible for a number of attacks on calves in a private fenced lowland pasture.

This is the second Wedge Pack that has been eliminated, following one in 2012 also responsible for numerous depredations and which set off years of conflict between local ranchers, hardcore wolf advocates and the state.

“We heavily feel the loss of the Wedge wolf pack and understand people on either side of the wolf issue will also have some strong emotions about it,” said Donny Martorello, WDFW Wolf Policy Lead, in an emailed statement. “WDFW’s job is to protect fish and wildlife, yet there have been real challenges in this case. Finding the balance for wolves and livestock-based livelihoods to co-exist [is] not always as easy as we’d like it to be.”

WDFW says it will provide a final report on 2020’s Wedge operation in this year’s annual wolf management report, due out next spring.