SEATTLE, July 11, 2019 – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced more lethal removals from the OPT wolf pack in the Kettle Range in northern Ferry County. The nine-member wolf pack (five adults and four pups) faces incremental killing – removing up to two wolves from the pack, followed by a two-week reassessment period before potentially killing more pack members. This is the fourth year in a row that the state has lethally removed wolves in this region, with two packs being eliminated entirely in the process.
Quinn Read, Northwest director for Defenders of Wildlife, issued this statement:
“It is time the Forest Service realizes that this landscape needs a different approach. Wolves are subjected to a vicious cycle in which they are attracted to the region’s rich wildlife habitat, encounter cattle on problematic grazing allotments and are killed for the resulting conflicts. It is evident this large, heavily forested landscape is improperly managed. We call upon the Forest Service and all interested parties to re-evaluate these grazing allotments, so this endless killing can cease.”
• WDFW previously attempted to eliminate the entire OPT pack in November 2018 to no avail.
• 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.
• Unfortunately, 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 clearly 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.
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