Today the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) released a lethal removal order for one to two wolves in the Leadpoint wolf pack. The order is in response to eleven depredation events that occurred in June and August on large private pastures in Stevens County, a known high-conflict area for livestock and wolves.
Zoë Hanley, Northwest Program Representative for Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:
“This private land is in the heart of the Leadpoint pack’s territory and a regular travel route for these wolves. While multiple non-lethal tools were tried, there was not sufficient human presence – including range riders – on this large pasture and offers for additional assistance were declined by the livestock producer. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife needs to ensure that all available resources are exhausted prior to authorizing killing wolves in yet another pack.”
• This lethal removal order is in response to nine cattle injuries and three cattle deaths in Stevens County attributed to the Leadpoint pack since June 19, 2020. After the depredations in June, WDFW deployed non-lethal tools to prevent further conflicts, although only Cattle Producers of Washington “conflict monitors” were allowed by the livestock producer.
• The Leadpoint pack numbered seven wolves in the WDFW 2019 annual wolf report, including one successful breeding pair.
• This is the third wolf pack the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has authorized for lethal control this year in response to livestock depredations. The other two packs with lethal control orders were the Togo and Wedge packs who also reside in Stevens County, a known high-conflict area for livestock and wolves. None of the four known Togo wolves were killed. One non-breeding adult female from the Wedge pack was killed on July 27 and a lethal control order was issued for the remaining two wolves on August 11 after additional cattle depredations, mostly injuries, were verified within the pack territory.