Statement on lethal removal of Old Profanity Territory Pack wolves

Statement on lethal removal of Old Profanity Territory Pack wolves

ConservationNWAdmin / Jul 10, 2019 / News Releases, WDFW, Wolves

We’re coordinating closely with the state, ranchers and range riders to provide resources for additional range riding and herd supervision in the OPT territory as needed.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced that it will lethally remove members of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) wolf pack after 20 confirmed depredations on livestock.

The OPT Pack roams national forest, state and private land in northeast Washington’s northern Kettle River Mountain Range, an area that has seen persistent wolf-livestock conflict in recent years. Two wolves from the OPT Pack were removed by the state after repeated conflicts in September of 2018. The most recent depredation incident occurred in early July 2019. To date, at least seven cows have been killed and 13 injured, and 15 depredations have occurred in the last 10 months. Twelve of these depredations occurred while non-lethal deterrents of some type were being used.

“It’s distressing to see conflict flare up once again in the Kettle Range,” said Paula Swedeen, Ph.D., Conservation Northwest Policy Director and a member of the state’s Wolf Advisory Group (WAG). “We have discussed at the WAG the need for innovative solutions to end the cycle of repeated wolf and cattle loss in this area, recognizing the difficulty that the situation creates for everyone involved. In the near term, we’re coordinating closely with the state, ranchers and range riders to provide additional resources for range riding and herd supervision in the OPT territory if requested or needed.”

“The Kettle Range is wild country critical for a variety of wildlife species and important to a broad portion of the public who cares about public land,” said Swedeen. “It’s also important grazing lands for local livestock producers, many of whom have been working and stewarding these lands for generations. The history of conflict here shows it won’t be easy, but we want to see successful coexistence in the Kettles into the future. We are anxious to participate in community-wide discussions of all interested parties on how to end this cycle of loss.”

According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, a contracted range rider who has been working the area is being shifted to the portion of the OPT pack’s territory where the latest depredation took place. Through coordination with the U.S. Forest Service, the grazing rotation on this allotment diverts cattle away from wolf rendezvous sites identified in previous years.

READ MORE ABOUT THIS SITUATION IN THIS WDFW NEWS RELEASE, OR REVIEW CONSERVATION NORTHWEST’S TALKING POINTS ON WOLF RECOVERY, COEXISTENCE AND COLLABORATION.

A gray wolf in the Kettle Mountain Range in 2017. Photo: Conservation Northwest Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project