Under these troubling circumstances, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife should not authorize killing more wolves in the area of the former Profanity Peak pack. Such a decision would not reflect the letter or the intent of the 2017 Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol, and risks eroding both the credibility of the Wolf Advisory Group and public trust in the Department.

Non-lethal tools should always be the first choice, and we work with landowners to identify and implement unique strategies that work for their individual situations. In this case, the methods used were inadequate for these heavily forested public lands, a known area of wolf activity. Coexistence, when done properly, is the best way to deter wolf-livestock conflicts from occurring in the first place.

The failure here to adapt grazing practices and implementation of nonlethal conflict deterrence measures is inconsistent with the spirit of collaboration and coexistence.
Shawn Cantrell, vice president of Field Conservation Programs
SEATTLE,
11
September
2018
|
08:01 PM
America/New_York

For Immediate Release

WDFW Should Not Authorize Killing of Wolves in Unnamed NE Washington Pack

Defenders of Wildlife has asked the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to refrain from issuing a lethal removal order for wolves in the area once held by the former Profanity Peak pack.

Shawn Cantrell, vice president for Field Conservation Programs at Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:

"Under these troubling circumstances, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife should not authorize killing more wolves in the area of the former Profanity Peak pack. Such a decision would not reflect the letter or the intent of the 2017 Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol, and risks eroding both the credibility of the Wolf Advisory Group and public trust in the Department.

“Non-lethal tools should always be the first choice, and we work with landowners to identify and implement unique strategies that work for their individual situations. In this case, the methods used were inadequate for these heavily forested public lands, a known area of wolf activity. Coexistence, when done properly, is the best way to deter wolf-livestock conflicts from occurring in the first place.

“The failure here to adapt grazing practices and implementation of nonlethal conflict deterrence measures is inconsistent with the spirit of collaboration and coexistence.”

Background:

  • Between Sept. 5-7, WDFW documented five confirmed wolf depredations on calves in the territory formerly occupied by the Profanity Peak pack. The depredations resulted in one dead and four injured calves.
  • The Department estimates the new pack, not yet formally named by WDFW, has three or four adults and two or three pups.
  • Local WDFW staff are still working to document the details of those depredations and identify additional non-lethal measures to deter further wolf depredations.
  • This specific area, north of Sherman Pass and south of the Boulder Highway, has been the site of repeated wolf-livestock conflicts, but unfortunately there has not been the necessary adaptation in grazing practices or an appropriate increase in human presence in response to the “lessons learned” from those conflicts.
  • Neither the non-lethal measures as implemented nor previous lethal removal has stopped this cycle of wolf-livestock conflict. Here, maintaining a pattern of livestock dispersed throughout a large, heavily forested landscape without adapting to past events that resulted in lethal removal does not meet the intent of the standard set forth in the Protocol calling for measures that are “best suited for the specific livestock operation and have the best chance to reduce the likelihood of wolf depredations on livestock.”
  • This situation also indicates to us that lethal removal is not accomplishing the goal of the protocol to reduce wolf-livestock conflict. The fact that wolves returned to this landscape and reproduced even after two previous lethal removals indicates that this is highly suitable wolf habitat. Given the number of reproductive packs in northeastern Washington, and nearby populations in British Columbia and Idaho, this landscape is likely to be recolonized on a regular basis. 
  • Killing wolves in the same area year after year is inconsistent with the goals of the protocol. We are committed to collaboration and conflict transformation and we also do not want to see repeated livestock losses.

 

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