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Agency considers wolf action

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By Rich Landers
The Spokesman-Review

“This latest attack is a continuation of a pattern of wolf-livestock problems in the wedge,” said Madonna Luers, WDFW's spokeswoman in Spokane. “The wolf plan allows several possible responses, including lethal removal, in cases of repeated depredation after other methods have been tried.”

A calf injured in a wolf attack in northern Stevens County – the fourth wounded or killed in one cattle herd in four weeks – has left the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department contemplating a response, including killing one or more wolves in the Wedge Pack.

“All options are on the table,” Madonna Luers, the agency’s spokeswoman in Spokane, said Monday.

The incident, which apparently happened Thursday, is the latest of several confirmed wolf attacks on the Diamond M Ranch herd near Laurier. The ranch has a Colville National Forest grazing lease in the “wedge” of land just south of Canada between the Columbia and Kettle Rivers.

In mid-July, officials confirmed that wolves had injured a cow and calf and killed another calf from the northern Stevens County ranch.

The Diamond M Ranch is owned by the McIrvin family. In 2007, the ranch also suffered Washington’s first documented wolf livestock depredation in roughly 70 years.

Last year, state officials adopted a wolf management plan to deal with expanding wolf packs, which remain protected by state endangered species laws.

“This latest attack is a continuation of a pattern of wolf-livestock problems in the wedge,” Luers said. “The wolf plan allows several possible responses, including lethal removal, in cases of repeated depredation after other methods have been tried.”

The response may be decided today, she said.

A Fish and Wildlife Department trapper caught an adult male wolf, attached a radio-transmitter collar, and released it following earlier wolf attacks on the ranch.

A pup also was caught and released, confirming the pack produced a litter this year.

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