Wolves have protected status but there are circumstances in which it can be ignored and the Washington State Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
has determined that this wedge pack - there are 8 to 11 wolves in the pack - can only be stopped by eliminating them. The department says other methods to keep them from frequenting farms and returning to hunting the abundant deer in the area have failed.
“These wolves in this wedge pack act different,” rancher Len McIrvin is quoted by Canada's CBC
as saying. “They are not eating any game, they are living strictly on cattle.”
GPS on alpha male pack leader
Fish and wildlife director Phil Anderson said the alpha male in the pack is equipped with a GPS and radio collar, which has made identifying this pack as the wolves doing the killing possible. They will be hunted on the ground, though the use of helicopters is a possibility.
“Once wolves become habituated to livestock as their primary food source, all of the wolf experts we’ve talked to agree that we have no alternative but to remove the entire pack,” Anderson told media. “By doing that, we will preserve the opportunity for the recovery of grey wolves in balance with viable livestock operations.”
Wolves were eradicated by homesteaders in Washington in the early 20th century but protected status has seen them return, with wolves coming in from Canada and Idaho and Montana. The Fish and Wildlife department says the area of the state this wedge pack operates in, Stevens County bordered by Canada and the Columbia and Kettle rivers, has 5 to 8 other packs of wolves.