Newly discovered wolf pack will be killed after attacks on livestock
POSTED: Monday, September 24, 2012 - 7:30pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, September 26, 2012 - 10:34am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A recently discovered wolf pack has received a death sentence from the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Fish and Wildlife officials say they have regrettably decided they must destroy the pack and start over. The so-called Wedge Pack has become too dependent on livestock, explained WDF&W Assistant Wildlife Director Nate Pamplin.
He noted that just this week two calves belonging to the Diamond M Ranch in northern Stevens County were confirmed wolf kills. Pamplin said that makes a total of 17 dead or injured animals.
Experts say once a pack becomes dependent on livestock for food it is nearly impossible to force them to change that habit.
Mitch Friedman of Conservation Northwest, a group responsible for confirming the presence of wolves in several areas of the state, agrees the pack should be destroyed, but Friedman is demanding assurances be made that this won't become the preferred method of wolf management in the state.
He blames the owner of the Diamond M, Bill McIrvine, for not doing enough to protect his herd from wolves.
He points out McIrvine did not participate in a range riding program that several other ranchers invested in, and he believes since McIrvine is running his cattle on publicly owned national forest land, he should have to adopt other modern methods of herd protection.
McIrvine said in an interview in July that he believes radical environmental groups are conspiring to introduce wolves in order to force ranchers off public lands.
Not only will he be allowed to keep grazing his cattle on leased national forest land, but state sharpshooters will spend as long as it takes to kill the wolf pack.
Gray wolves were eliminated as a breeding species in Washington by the 1930s, but they have since migrated to Washington from Idaho, Oregon and British Columbia.
They are listed as endangered throughout Washington under state law and the western two-thirds of the state under federal law.