Wolf advocates emotional weekday to bar the Washington Department of Fish and life from killing wolves within the Kettle watercourse vary of Ferry County, this summer's hot spot for conflicts between wolves and kine.
If granted, the motion filed in King County judicature would halt plans by Fish and life to get rid of 2 wolves within the Togo pack. The motion additionally would apply to the Sherman pack, that has preyed on kine within the past.
The motion responds to Fish and Wildlife's surprise revelation weekday evening that it believes it had eliminated the whole choose pack that morning. Previously, the department aforementioned one wolf remained.
Superior Court choose John McHale issued associate order shortly before noontide weekday protective that one wolf. The department currently says it absolutely was possible a individualist, not a member of the choose pack.
The motion filed weekday asks McHale to broaden his order over the whole vary to make sure that Fish and life does not kill the wolf.
"WDFW has suddenly redefined the membership of the OPT pack so as to prevent the injunction announced by the court Friday from having any effect," the motion filed Monday states.
A Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman said the department did not have any immediate reaction to the motion, but was ready to comply with any court order.
If McHale grants the motion, it would apply to a region with a concentration of wolfpacks. The range runs through the Colville National Forest and U.S. Forest Service grazing allotments. Ranchers there say wolves are a growing threat to their cattle.
The OPT pack had killed or injured at least 29 cattle since last September. Fish and Wildlife shot two wolves in the pack last fall, but the depredations on cattle resumed in July.
The department reported in July that the pack had at least nine wolves — five adults and at least four pups. The department shot one in July and seven in August.
One surviving adult wolf, probably male, had been photographed in the spring by a trail camera in the pack's territory, but had not been seen with the other wolves. The department now says that wolf was probably dispersing from another pack.
The last four OPT wolves were shot from a helicopter early Friday morning and shortly before the hearing started in McHale's courtroom.
Fish and Wildlife attorneys reported to McHale that the department had just killed four wolves and that it had suspended efforts to remove the last wolf. The department did not mention that it may have eliminated the pack.
The wolf advocates who sought to stop the killing of the OPT pack may ask McHale to still hear arguments on whether Fish and Wildlife's lethal-removal policy complies with state environmental and administrative laws, their attorney, Jonathon Bashford, said Monday.
Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind authorized on Aug. 9 the removal of the last two Togo pack wolves in the Kettle River Range in Ferry County.
Fish and Wildlife has not yet tried to kill the wolves. The department hopes to first trap and collar one wolf. The collars transmit signals allowing the department to track it and other wolves.
A rancher shot another Togo pack wolf that was attacking cattle July 24. The wolf ran away and has not been found, but the department suspects the wounds were serious enough to kill the animal.
Fish and Wildlife says ranchers have tried to protect their herds from a growing population of wolves, but in some cases, the attacks can only be stopped by killing wolves. The lethal-removal operations have not prevented the wolf population from growing, the department says.