For Immediate Release
Seattle, WA

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) killed the remaining wolves and pups from the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) pack over the weekend, under an authorization that allows lethal removal of the full pack. The previously nine-member OPT pack is now reduced to zero members. This action follows the lethal removal of three wolves announced on August 13. Prior to this action, there was also a lethal removal of an adult male on July 13 as well as two wolves from the pack lethally removed in 2018 Lethal removal operations took place in the Kettle Range in northeastern Washington, which includes multiple grazing allotments managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The Forest Service has not addressed the depredations or the effect they have on the landscape and the producer. 

Quinn Read, Northwest Program Director for Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement: 

“It feels like groundhog day. More wolves are killed in the same location, with no meaningful change by the federal agency which manages these lands. The gray wolf is listed as a Sensitive Species in this region by the U.S. Forest Service, and is also listed as a threatened species by the state of Washington. Continuing to kill wolves is not a solution to the conflicts with livestock in the Kettle Range. It is past time for the U.S. Forest Service to come up with a different plan to truly address the chronic conflicts stemming from livestock grazing in this prime wolf territory.”

Since September 2018, there have been 29 depredations by the OPT pack. In November 2018, WDFW issued a lethal removal order on the entire OPT pack, to no avail. Under the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, the recent lethal removal order is considered a reauthorization of this November action and not a separate lethal order. 

This region of the Kettle Range – north of Sherman pass and south of the Boulder Highway – has been the site of repeated wolf-livestock conflicts. As part of the Colville National Forest, the land is managed by the U.S. Forest Service but to date there has not been the necessary response by the Forest Service to the “lessons learned” from those prior conflicts. Neither the non-lethal measures as implemented nor previous lethal removal of wolves has stopped this particular cycle of wolf-livestock conflict.
Since new wolf packs continually return to this landscape and reproduce, even after multiple lethal removal operations, this area is considered 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 by new or replacement wolves on a regular basis, and is already a population source for wolves dispersing throughout the state. 
Defenders of Wildlife works hard to advocate for human-wildlife coexistence measures at the federal, state and local levels, working closely with decision makers to strengthen and develop laws, policies and programs that affect wildlife. Defenders of Wildlife engages in a variety of community education and outreach activities– everything from providing training on how to properly use bear spray, to giving presentations about Florida panther recovery and range expansion.

We work with producers to implement nonlethal tools to protect livestock from predator depredations, like placing range riders, livestock guarding dogs and trail cameras in areas of concern to help monitor nearby predators so ranchers can better protect their livestock. We also use tools like noisemakers, spotlights, fladry and temporary electrified corrals to scare wildlife away. By preparing local communities to coexist safely with wildlife and minimizing negative interactions between humans and wildlife in backyards and on the range, we are helping imperiled wildlife rebound and expand to their historical ranges.

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With over 1.8 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

Media Contact

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Kerry Skiff
Communications Coordinator
(202) 772-0253



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