The state killed a non-breeding female wolf yesterday and is currently targeting a second wolf.
The Wedge pack has repeatedly preyed on livestock in northeast Washington over the past five years. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, recent attacks by the pack have killed a calf, injured five cows or calves and left two missing.
WDFW Director Phil Anderson said the Diamond M ranch that experienced the attacks is "in an area with the highest concentrations of wolves in the state" and that the state wolf plan allows lethal removal to minimize livestock losses.
"This is the first lethal removal for the state," said Nate Pamplin of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. "Certainly, transitioning to conduct lethal removal was not one we took lightly."
In 2007, wolves killed two calves from the Diamond M herd, and another kill was confirmed in July. Several Wedge pack wolf attacks have been confirmed this summer. Last week, a calf was found with injuries that wildlife managers confirmed was the result of a wolf attack.
The state had tried a number of non-lethal controls to deter wolves from attacking livestock. They included electrified fencing, cowboy patrols and radio collars to track the pack's location.
But despite those measures, the pack attacked again last Thursday.
Pamplin couldn't tell me how many wolves have been confirmed in Washington, but a rough count based on information cited on the WDFW website suggests there are more than 30 documented wolves in the state.
Oregon has already killed several wolves to protect livestock from chronic depredation. Since wolves were removed from the Endangered Species List last year, Idaho and Montana now allow wolf hunts to thin out wolf packs.
While I was poking around on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website I found several videos of wolf pups. Here's one of pups in the Huckleberry pack in Spokane County.