Wolf, © Didier Lindsey

Will A Washington Wolf Pack Die Tomorrow?

Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Just a few months ago, we celebrated the discovery of Washington State’s eighth wolf pack, called the Wedge pack. This pack is particularly important because it’s a border pack that helps maintain a link between wolves in Washington and Canada.  In a small population like this, genetic exchange between these populations is very important.

Recently, wolves have been accused of killing livestock in the Colville National Forest on the northeastern boundary of the state’s border with Canada.  Under the state’s wolf management plan, if wolves repeatedly prey on livestock, and nonlethal deterrents fail, the state can choose to kill wolves to protect livestock.  However, in this case, there is no solid evidence that wolves did kill livestock and no details provided of any nonlethal deterrents being tried.

Several wolf depredation experts, including myself have reviewed the state’s investigation reports and found that none of the injuries are characteristic of wolf predation on livestock.  Though I’m not a field investigator, I have personally evaluated more than one million dollars of livestock depredations due to wolves, and managed Defenders’ wolf compensation program from 1999 to 2011. We would have rejected these reports and considered them unrelated to wolf predation.  Just because wolves are in the area does not mean they are killing livestock, and scavenging from dead livestock left in the national forest is not a crime punishable under the Washington State wolf plan. These reports fail to prove that wolves killed or injured livestock, and the majority of the injuries — most of which are not even close to life threatening — can be easily classified as those commonly sustained by cattle ranging on national forest lands, inflicted by barbed wire, trees or bushes, moving debris during storms, and a host of other possibilities, including animals other than wolves.

Photo courtesy of Didier Lindsey

Despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary, the state has already used the complaints as a basis to kill a female wolf from the pack, and now has issued a kill order on the rest of the pack’s adult wolves. Since one of the adults has been fitted with a GPS collar, the state’s sharpshooters will find it all too easy to locate the pack and carry out this unjustified sentence, and they have been given the go-ahead to do so as soon as possible. It will mean the deaths of four adult wolves, and likely the death or forced captivity of the pack’s several pups as well. An entire pack wiped out based on circumstantial evidence that they were in the area and therefore responsible for the depredations.

Unless we act now, it appears that the Wedge pack could be eliminated this week — as early as tomorrow.  That’s why we’re asking our members and supporters to contact Governor Christine Gregoire (360-902-4111); Phil Anderson, Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (360-902-2200 Assistant Director Nate Pamplin (360-902-2693); and the Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission (360-902-2267 or commission@dfw.wa.gov) today and respectfully tell them that this was the wrong decision. Tell them:

1)    Stop: Rescind the kill order! Don’t sentence an entire pack to death.

2)    Prove it: Conduct an independent review of the evidence to determine that wolves were at fault for the injuries, and publish the review’s findings. If the wolves are at fault, there should be no problem in proving it publicly.

3)    Start slow: If the review finds that the wolves are at fault, use non-lethal deterrents first. Sending sharpshooters after wolves should be the absolute last resort, not the go-to option.

Ask these officials to stand up for responsible wildlife management, not give in to fear and false information. If Washington starts down this path of killing wolves based on misidentification and speculation, no pack in the state will be safe.

90 Responses to “Will A Washington Wolf Pack Die Tomorrow?”

  1. Kathy Govreau

    I agree with what you say. Posting on here is great but phone calls to the officials is what is really needed! I have sent an email to them & will be calling when I get home.

  2. Michael

    To add insult to injury, these cattle are grazing on public land. Why are we allowing the ranching community who continues to graze on public land, the ability to dictate how we manage our wildlife?

  3. Suzanne Stone

    It’s amazing and greatly encouraging that people from so far away are trying to help. We deeply appreciate it. Let’s keep it up! We are being heard.

  4. Cheryl

    Update, please! I phoned the Governor’s office and the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. Dept. stated they had received thousands of calls. Did the effort make a difference?

  5. james moran

    Do not kill this pack. These wolves are on public lands.

    The future welfare of wolves (and of other animals in their eco-system) demands that this pack be spared the sentence of a stupid, senseless death.

  6. Catherine

    Please provide any updates that you may have re: the fate of the Wedge Pack. Thank you.

  7. Pamela Rizzoli

    I have read all off the above comments and agree with every single one that is in support of saving these beautiful animals THAT HAVE A RIGHT TO LIFE ON THIS PLANET…..JUST AS EACH OF US DO! What’s next? The reckless killing of human beings without provocation and those that comprise CERTAIN GROUPS OF PEOPLE?

  8. Michael

    Compensate the rancher, provide the rancher with non-lethal predator deterrents, and relocate the pack!

  9. Ellen

    I wrote to Gregoire’s office with only a standard reply that their office would get back to me. No reply as yet! (its been several days now)
    Also wrote to Phil Anderson, Director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and was sent a ‘form’ letter that they have had so many people addressing this issue that they can’t answer specific questions!! In other words, they don’t want to deal with our questions / complaints!

    Ranchers send their livestock out into the Nat’ll Forests knowing there are predators who make their home there. They have the option to keep their livestock safe on their property or to send them into the home of predators. Then they whine and complain when livestock are wounded or killed for food. Hello?

    I feel so sorry for both the livestock and the predators. Both are just trying to survive. The Ranchers are thinking of their ‘pocket books’ and not for the safety of their livestock. The wolves are just trying to stay alive. When will ranchers and hunters stop persecuting the poor wolf. They need to be educated and less greedy.

  10. gary

    wolves they have to eat right ???? thats why they kill.do u eat ?? u kill to eat rite ???? so set up feeding grounds for the animals to eat. it only makes sence. so try it you waste money on everything else. what do u think a helicopter read to kill costs ???? think think not KILL.

  11. Steve

    These wolves are coming closer and closer to our communities. We should have the right to manage them, I live near these wolves and our community has to deal with them. I am sure everyone on here lives in a large city where these creatures are no threat. Yes they are beautiful but they are also killing machines that will eat themselves out of house and home. Let’s keep there numbers healthy, a wolf pack will use such a large range and cover so many mountains. Our area will be devastated if the number continues to grow at there current rate. Think about it, if we don’t manage there numbers they will eat more than there carrying capacity and die off. This will take awhile but that’s how mother nature works. From one extreme to another. I think a lot of people on here are uneducated but I’m sure that’s what you’ll all say about me. Who cares when it comes down to it, I don’t need anyone to tell me what I can and can’t manage on my land. Have a good day

  12. Laura Perkinson

    This makes me sick! only 3 weeks ago they were going to work it out with this ONE Rancher who is grazing cattle on OUR land. not his but OUR land and he expects the wolfs to know or say ” oh look that is a cow. lets leave it alone!

    This makes me furious!

    Make the Rancher bring his damn cattle in!

  13. Laura Perkinson

    PS Steve I live in the Country. I keep my animals safe from wildlife. they have as much right as we do here, in fact more.mankind has killed off more then his share yet no one goes out to kill off those who do? but then this is all about what one man wants.

  14. Julie W.

    Steve – this is such a disappointing (if not well-articulated) reply. Of course they are coming closer to our communities…because we are trying to turn their (and other wildlife’s) homes into our own! They have no where else to go. And if rancher’s are not being responsible to protect their own “inventory”, that is not the wolves’ fault. I am all for mother nature working through these issues, but that is for NATURE to do, not us. We have to stop this attitude of altering land and creature populations based on our whims or inconveniences. It is just immoral in the grand scheme of things to live this way. I like to practice the Golden Rule and that applies to all earthlings, not just people. We have to respect predators too — afterall, that is the way God created them and they are only living as He intended.

  15. Linda Way

    The whole pack ??? Why ? The cows were going to die anyway, they are cows. The rancher should move. He should be in his nice safe little home in the city. this is so wrong. The ranchers let the stupid cows run around the whole public lands and make thousands of dollars when they round them up and take them to slaughter. I am so sick of these fu$*$^g ranchers. They suck

  16. Joseph Wayne Tanner

    It’s truly sad that some people still have this fear and hatered of Carnivorous Predators like Wolves isn’t about we stop the hatered for these Predators and learn to live in peace and harmony with them I mean the only Big Bad Wolf that exist is in Fairy Tales, and Folktales I doubt Real Wolves would really attack people here in the Untied States of America, Europe, and Asia would be those with rabies.

  17. Andrea

    Steve,
    Thats a myth that those who support wolves are all urbanites. I too live in the deep country and make an effort to prevent predation. A little effort goes a long way. You should try it sometime.

  18. MS O

    We actually adopted a wolf not knowing she was an alpha wolf pup, thinking she was a Husky or Malamute cross with something…she had been a stray. EVery dog we came up to or came to us would just automatically roll over when she walked up. Amazing. All male and female dogs except pit and sharpei puppies…they were just pups. She was so smart. We learned a lot. They do react to instinct far more than a dog, and I mean by pheromones. And rightly so, their hearts are grand. They are magnificent. We had her doing 33 tricks by nine months at 92 pounds. we took her to Mans Best Friend to see baout training…they kept us waiting for 1 1/2 hours only to return and excitedly say that she was the smartest dog they had ever seen….well we left a little dispapointed because we figured if we had done that much, they wouldn’t be able to do much more than we already were…I won’t disclose my secrets but it is something that costs about a dollar. So…my take on this is these animals are extremely brilliant and trainable. I think the use of deterents more applicable and large dogs like the Boz dog or KAngals or other asian working dogs to protect are worthwhile…there are videos showing the work of these dogs against wolves. There is no comparison. No guns needed…However I think a few gunshots are also appropriate. Fear is a deterrent for every other creature out there and these packs, if new would not have a lot of fear of humans. Or get a couple of mules or other killer animals as pack animals for the herds. Our wolf once chased a man up to no good into his apartment…she loved babies and puppies and would pratically do flips for them…never hurt our cat, etc…never overly agressive to anyone except this man. She was as big as the doorway…that tall at 9 months…he barely made it in the house…she was going for his neck…it was a split second door shut that saved him. I don’t think much would have stopped her…he was a block away when she started after him when he was running. He was a drug dealer. She was a very rightous alpha female. In their world there are no guns. Respect of humans can only be by fear. Killing them may not be necessary. Just Respect. Apparently there were no bulls with the cows….that may have made a big difference, eh? We have been chased by many public land cows…they aren’t nice…dogs, humans..makes you wonder if those cattle were too completely naive to be put out on public land.

  19. Anomymous

    Sometimes when a K9 gets really angered at a person like that it means they have tortured animals before or ate dog. Btw a wild wolf would never attack a human for no reason huh? I mean maybe if you run up to it and start beating it and his/hers puppy’s it would attack to defended itself.

  20. Millie Sheen

    I can’t see why they are killing them of they have no proof of the wolves killing the livestock and even if they did they were just feeding the pack remembering this pack has several pups to feed as well as four adults.It is unfair on the poor creatures. As you said in this report these are particularly important as they are on the border so why kill them. I don’t agree with any animal being killed needlessly.

  21. Millie Sheen

    I know what your saying and I agree in fact the reason they are coming closer is because A. they need food and in winter months it may be hard to find with smaller easy to catch prey hibernating and B. we are taking over their land with our buildings and road… They can’t help eating its how nature works.(like you say) one day Steve you never know the pack may grow too big and they could quite possible kill themselves it has been done before I sure hope it doesn’t happen But it could. I love wolves and I can’t stand what we are doing to them. Killing them off i mean. As you may have seen me comment before when an animal is gone it’s gone forever and is never coming back. We must stop killing them!

  22. Malcolm Burns

    I grew up in Montana, so no I am not one of the big city people you talk about. My father was a federal biologist and was responsible for several hundred thousand acres of land. I saw him shut down grazing on federal land because the livestock were causing extreme damage to the land. I also saw him try to get hunting laws and quotas for big game changed. The wolves are not the problem. It is ignorant people like yourself that are to blame for the wildlife problems. Every year, we found several large bull elk that were gut shot and left to die because some lazy creep did not want to track what he shot! As far as cattle go, if you want them on federal land, you need to realize that bears and wolves and cougars will kill cattle. Also, they will eat poisonous plants or fall and get killed. Many of the attacks carried out in Montana are by dog packs, not wolves. Wolves will eat what they kill, not torture it.

  23. Millie Sheen

    Exactly!
    You can’t expect a wolf to sit there and watch some cattle graze. They were probably going to get killed anyway! If the whole pack gets wiped out I will be furious, because if it were us we would kill it! It’s easy prey and for a hungry pack it must be like gold dust! And it was only 1 rancher that’s all it takes 1 rancher to make a fuss and a whole pack is in jeopardy! If you don’t want the cattle to be eaten by innocent creatures MOVE THE CATTLE!!!

  24. John D

    Calls of a larger/stronger pack (Recorded) played at certain times WILL keep another ‘pack’ in their ‘own’ area,

  25. lorishermer

    wolves should be allowed to roam freely but protected from evil men and their plets as well our copuntries great great come back after being wiped out to almost the point of extinction and the newest come backin yellowstone in the 1980s . Now we must start all over again with a stronger law that prevents the republicans from all their dirty work

  26. lorishermer

    Wolves should be allowed to roam freelyand unharmed by evil man and hes quest for pletsAnd shouldnt have to make asecond comeback from the 1980s in yellowstone and else where.afteralmost being wiped off the united states map a thrid time

  27. Antonia Vassila

    Please save the rest of the pack, dont permit hunting and trapping, since there is no evidence that this specific pack atacked to the livestock. Ranchers and farmers always accuse wolves.

  28. Marga

    Steve, what you wrote here is absolut nonsense. No wolf will ever
    come close to you and if you are not able to keep your lifestock
    protected than that is your fault!!!! The wolf is not the BAD guy, you are!
    These animals have the same rights to live as we, the socalled humans,even more, as they were here long before mankind did!!!!
    I’ve lived in the countryside in Canada, so I know what I’m talking about.Besides, are you a vegetarian???
    Your whole article makes me sick, in my eyes you just like to KILL!!

  29. Bluebird

    To Steve
    Let me suggest to you, that instead of culling and killing these grand and beautiful creatures, that you look first to health matters closer to home by ensuring that the waste your town throws out, is managed in a more suitable way so the wolves don’t come into your town……or,

    Why not set up a wolf eating area outside of your town perimeter. I’m sure you could arrange for some of the edible food to be left there for the wolves. Wolves are bright, and will soon get used to the regular eating area. That way, you will not have to pick up a gun at the first sight of one.

    How about that!!!

  30. S. O. Rooney

    I’m am appalled at man’s ignorance as well, but attacking the ignorant with insults and names surely will not change their attitude, or even make them think. So you end up preaching to the choir. How many people are concerned about wildlife and animals and still eat them. If you care, become a vegetarian. (Fish, too.)It is hypocritical not to be. Then address the ignorant with sensitivity, courtesy and information, not just rants.

    And one more thing. One will make a much better case for their cause if they at least try to use a little better punctuation and grammar. At least the venerable period, for Pete’s sake. Otherwise we look like the ignorant ones.

    That said, thank you all for your concern and willingness to take part in the “conversation.”

  31. terry clark

    I, think that those wolf should not be killed,as we all know people who hear stories or get stories told abouth them, they can easylie say it was a wolf when it wasn’t. To kill a whole pack is outrages, and agains none proof that it was the wolfs, in canada and any other wild nature in the USA are many other and more bigger animals than a wolf.
    to point the finger on them is going on now over the last 4 month very strong, for hunting , and not even shooting as it is normal more like torture, its abouth time those wolfs should be left in peace and not killed or disturbed nor hunted down as it would be the last animal in the world.
    we all like to live in peace, and they also have the right to live in peace. DONT shoot them, as it has not been proofen it was the wolf, its like to hang some one and later found out this some 1 was innocent, what than?

  32. Dr. Marcus von Weigert

    “Steve’s” reply is ignorance personified. All that is missing from this rambling and self-deluded narrative is the part about how wolves “huff, and puff, blow houses down, and eat little pigs, grannies, and girls in red jackets.” I live in a remote rural area, not “a large city” and own a large private nature preserve and wildlife sanctuary that is located in the Sequoia National Forest near Kernville/Lake Isabella, California. We are fortunate that the largest and most influential local cattle rancher, who comes from a pioneer family that has been in the area for generations, is also an educated, compassionate, and fore-sighted person who has partnered with local conservationist and preservationist interests to protect our native wildlife, as well as historical sites and Native American cultural and religious sites. Sadly we do not have wolves in our area, but our other top-tier predators like mountain lions, bears, and coyotes have no problem co-existing with the humans and domestic animals who reside in their natural range and habitat.

    Further, Steve should refrain from calling people uneducated unless he is looking in the mirror. Sane and meaningful wildlife and other natural resources preservation is supported by people from all walks of life and all educational levels. I myself possess numerous college and university degrees, including a Doctorate. This, and more than a half century of experience as a naturalist, conservationist, ecologist, and outdoorsman, make me better qualified to speak on this subject than the shrill, shrieking, gibbering, Chicken Little “The sky is falling, the wolves are coming!” cries and lies of the alarmist extremist haters and the gullible, misguided, individuals who parrot their nonsense.

  33. Anne Lewis-Strobell

    I am only O.K. with cows in the forest as long as wildlife is not wiped out because of it. Here in New Mexico people move into wildlife territory and then expect all the wildlife to be killed so coyotes (or cougars or lobos or bobcats or owls) don’t eat their cats or chickens, meanwhile cats are endangering birds. Cows are innocent creatures, better in pastures than the wilderness. I know there’s sometimes no other place to graze them, but don’t wipe out wolves. Stick some more cowboys in there or something.

  34. Anne Lewis-Strobell

    P.S. to my last reply–Someone in NM shot a grand elk with massive antlers(a trophy size according to Game and Fish)- and left it to rot. People are always poaching around here all the time, and yet people complain about wolves and lions killing deer and elk. Stop all the poaching and road kill and I bet there’s enough for people as well as other predators. People are the most destructive predator.

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