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By Rich Landers
ENDANGERED SPECIES — Washington wildlife managers spent $135,000 to kill seven of 11 gray wolves in a pack that had attacked or killed about 15 cattle on national forest grazing allotments in northeastern Washington last summer and fall.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife have released a 200-page report on the situation and effort to lethally remove the Profanity Peak Pack in northern Ferry County.
Helicopter and staff time for the aerial gunning accounted for most of the spending while $10,000 was paid to an area trapper, the agency reported.
The agency followed an established protocol of hazing efforts before targeting the pack for extermination in August. Rugged terrain and other factors prevented the staff from killing all of the wolves. More action could be taken if the remaining four wolves resume attacks on livestock, said Donny Martorello, wolf program leader.
Funding for the lethal removals came from the agency’s Wildlife Account, which includes revenue from license sales but no taxpayer dollars, he said.
Wolf advocate groups say the state could have done more to prevent conflicts that led to the wolves being killed.
The Profanity Peak Pack lethal removal mission was the third and the most expensive of its kind since the state adopted a wolf recovery plan.
Efforts to prevent conflicts between sheep and the Huckleberry Pack and the removal of one wolf in 2014 cost $53,000. Removal of the Wedge Pack in 2012 cost $76,500.
Agency officials have said the past that the state’s wolf recovery program costs more than $1 million a year.
Posted Jan. 13, 2017, 3:14 p.m.