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Wolf supporters to protest Profanity Peak pack shootings

IMAGE: Gray wolf (Gary Kramer / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service )
August 30, 2016
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OLYMPIA, Wash.– A protest against the killing of the Profanity Peak wolf pack in eastern Washington by state wildlife officials is scheduled for Thursday Sept. 1, from noon-2pm on the steps of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) headquarters in Olympia, Washington.

Organized by advocacy groups Predators Defense and the Center for Biological Diversity, the rally will include wolf supporters and conservationists voicing opposition over the ongoing lethal hunt of Washington’s Profanity Peak wolf pack and urge the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to stop killing wolves on public lands to benefit the private ranching industry.

Brooks Fahy, Executive Director of Predators Defense, is outraged over the killings. “There is no safe place for any of these animals,”  he says. “The system is completely broken.” Fahy believes wildlife should get priority on public lands such as the Colville National Forest where the Profanity Peak pack resides. “When cows are on the landscape they destroy it and biodiversity of the area.”

On August 19th, the Department of Fish and Wildlife announced it resumed efforts to exterminate the Profanity Peak pack after finding an additional two calf carcasses and an injured calf. The cattle belonging to the multi-generational ranching family of Len McIrvin had been grazing on top of the wolves’ den according a recent article in the Seattle Times.

Map of the Washington State wolf packs as of March 14, 2016. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

Map of the Washington State wolf packs as of March 14, 2016. (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)

The McIrvin’s of the Diamond M Ranch are the same operators who complained of wolf depredation on their cattle in 2014. That complaint resulted in wildlife officials killing seven members of the Wedge wolf pack only a year after the state introduced new policies to recover the wolf populations in the state. As of December 2015 the pack had only three members, none of whom are a successful breeding pair.

Rob Wielgus, Associate Professor and Director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at Washington State University, was quoted saying he hasn’t heard of any cattle kills among producers who are participating in his research studies and very few among producers using Fish & Wildlife’s protocol.

Fending off the hungry wolves from grazing cattle includes tactics such as hiring range riders, putting up fencing, putting radio collars on the wolves, and a willingness by ranchers to move their cattle away from known pack rendezvous sites and dens. WDFW enters into Damage Prevention Cooperative Agreements with operators to work together on this.

The McIrvin’s do not participate in the collaring of animals according to the article in the Times.

Earlier in the month a sharpshooter in a helicopter for the agency had killed two wolves from the Profanity Peak pack, including a breeding female, but held off when the pack retreated into a heavily forested area of the Kettle River Range Mountains and attacks on cattle had ceased.

As of August 26th, the WDFW has killed at least six of the pack’s 11 members and aims to eradicate the entire pack, including five 4 month-old pups.

According to figures from 2015 the state had a total of 90 wolves.

Conservation groups are divided on the issue. Some side with wildlife officials and ranchers after a year’s worth of deliberation and multiple cattle depredation saying there is no other solution. Others think the pack should be left alone.

Press release posted on Conservation Northwest’s website.

Press release posted on the Kettle Range Conservation Group website.

More information on the rally can be found on the group’s Facebook page
Date: Thursday, Sept. 1
Time: noon- 2pm
Location: Natural Resources Building
1111 Washington St. SE
Olympia, WA 98501

 

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