Washington State policy calls for quicker lethal response to wolf depredations – Free Range Report

Washington wildlife managers have issued a new wolf-control policy that calls for lethal removal sooner, but with the hope that quicker action will ultimately mean killing fewer wolves to deter packs from attacking livestock.The policy also commits the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to initially shooting one or at most two wolves and pausing to see how a pack responds. In past cases, WDFW started with plans to shoot several wolves.“The goal is to interrupt the behavior pattern earlier,” WDFW wolf policy coordinator Donny Martorello said. “If we can do that by removing one or two animals, good. If not, we can take the next incremental step.”WDFW’s use of lethal control has been a flashpoint since wolves began returning to Washington a decade ago. WDFW last summer shot seven wolves preying on cattle in the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington. The action angered environmentalists, but one ranch still lost an estimated 70 cattle to wolves.The new policy reduces to three from four the number of depredations to trigger lethal removal.In another significant change, one of the three strikes against a pack can be a “probable” depredation. Previously, only “confirmed” kills were counted, leaving out cases in which wildlife investigators were fairly sure wolves had killed livestock, but too little of the carcass remained to show wolf bites.

Source: Washington State policy calls for quicker lethal response to wolf depredations – Free Range Report

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