A classic case of medicine after death.
On Friday, August 16, the last four members of the Old Profanity Wolf pack were killed in Washington State . Tragically, their deaths occurred just a few hours before a court sat in session to pass the order that would protect them .
Earlier this year, the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) proposed a plan for the “incremental” removal of members of the Old Profanity Wolf pack . This plan didn’t sit well with the cattlemen in wolf-prone areas. According to the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association, the wolves attacked 20 cattle in the previous year, killing about 13 of them . However, this number seems to differ from the WDFW’s of 7 killed and 13 injured . The cattlemen insisted on a more drastic action, citing that the wolves would bring more danger than the state is anticipating.
According to the president of the Stevens County Cattlemen’s Association, the wolves were gradually changing the economy and increasing hardship in the ranching areas. Wolves are major competitors for prey with other predators, and they would end up pushing bears and cougars down to people’s farms and even their homes to look for food. They bemoaned an immediate need to cull the members of the pack, and a few months later, the whole pack is gone.
Conditions for lethal removal
The lawsuit that was filed against the killing of the wolves was strongly followed through by the Center for a Humane Economy, a non-profit advocating for animal protection rights across the country. When the cattle killings by the wolves became excessive, a section was added the state’s Wolf Management Plan to allow for the “lethal removal” of the wolves in eastern areas where they were not considered endangered. The wolves had killed 29 livestock since September 2018. The WDFW allows this action on the account that a rancher must employ the services of a registered state rider to attempt to clear the wolves by using noise and night lights, KUOW reports . If this measure those not solve the problem, lethal extraction is then permitted. However, a particular rancher, whose actions prompted the lawsuit, allegedly sacked the riders from his ranch on July 8.
Between August 1 and August 13, the WDFW sanctioned the killing of 3 wolves, annihilating the entire family with the death of the last four on the 16th. At 9.30 am that day, a King County Superior judge ordered the department to stop the killing of the wolves until the case has gone to trial, but they were all already dead.
“It’s unbelievably tragic that this wolf family has already been annihilated by the state,” said Sophia Ressler of the Center for Biological Diversity to the Associated Press . “It seems like Washington’s wildlife agency is bent on wiping out the state’s wolves.”
The WDFW accused of outsmarting the court
The Center for a Humane Economy insists that the WDFW scheduled the removal of the wolves on the same day as the court hearing, something environmentalists find a little too convenient. They allegedly knew that the court would order the protection of the wolves, but the department claims that the incident was coincidental.
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“It’s like, ‘Okay, we’ve got to get these wolves now, in case the judge stops us,'” Center for a Humane Economy President Wayne Pacelle told KUOW. Pacelle called out the McIrvin family, owners of the Diamond M Ranch in the county. He alleges that 87 percent of the wolf killings in Washington were facilitated by the McIrvin family, who also made the complaints that led to the annihilation of the Old Profanity family.
“The McIrvin family is baiting wolves with live cattle on our federal lands,” Pacelle said in the statement. “And then they complain when the inevitable occurs, and then plead with the state to kill more wolves from helicopters.”
In their defense, the WDFW states that it costs them about $20,000 to put down one wolf, and it’s usually a heartbreaking moment for the department to have to remove a wolf.
“It’s always unfortunate whenever we have to remove wolves,” said Staci Lehman, WDFW spokesperson to KUOW. “It’s never taken lightly by anybody at the department.”
The Togo pack, another wolf family in the Washington area is currently under a hunt-down sanctioned by the WDFW. The pack is unprotected and the department has passed the order for two members who were accused of killing livestock to be lethally removed.
Pacelle of the Center for a Humane Economy proposes that the State Forest Service end allotments of wolf-prone areas for cattle grazing purposes. He believes this measure would go a long way in keeping the cattle out of wolf range, and the wolves won’t have to be killed anymore.
- Nicholas Geranios. 4 last wolves in Washington pack killed by state hunter. AP News. https://www.apnews.com/69818f8df650421895ae6bf1cdc6b551. Retrieved 03-09-19
- Olivia Rosane. Washington State Kills Last Four of a Wolf Pack Hours Before Court-Ordered Reprieve. Eco Watch. https://www.ecowatch.com/milwaukee-vaping-2640175106.html. Retrieved 03-09-19
- WDFW director reauthorizes lethal action in Old Profanity Territory wolf pack https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/species-recovery/gray-wolf/updates/wdfw-director-reauthorizes-lethal
- Old Profanity Wolf Pack Needs to be Culled https://stevenscountycattlemen.com/2019/07/16/old-profanity-wolf-pack-needs-to-be-culled/
- Eilis O’Neil. Four wolves killed by Washington state agents — hours before court hearing to protect them. KUOW. https://www.kuow.org/stories/four-wolves-killed-by-washington-state-agents-hours-before-court-hearing-to-protect-them. Retrieved 03-09-19
- The Center for a Humane Economy. Official website. https://centerforahumaneeconomy.org/. Retrieved 03-09-19
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