FERRY COUNTY, Washington — On Sept. 7, 2018, WDFW documented a new depredation on livestock by the Togo pack on a U.S. Forest Service grazing allotment in Ferry County, resulting in an injured calf. That brought the total number of confirmed depredations by the pack to seven since November 2017.
When the WDFW field staff confirmed the latest depredation, the department was evaluating the pack’s behavior after lethally removing the adult male wolf on Sept. 2, 2018. That action was taken according to the lethal removal provisions in the department’s wolf-livestock interaction protocol, which allows the department to consider taking lethal action against wolves when department staff confirm three predations by wolves on livestock within 30 days, or four within 10 months.
With the confirmation of a sixth depredation on Aug. 18, 2018, the Togo pack’s behavior met both of those criteria. Two days later, WDFW notified the public that non-lethal measures had not deterred the pack from preying on livestock and that the WDFW director had authorized incremental lethal removal of one adult wolf to help change the pack’s pattern of behavior.
Under that authorization, the department removed one adult male wolf from the Togo pack on Sept. 2, 2018, and initiated an evaluation period of the pack’s behavior. Following the wolf’s removal, WDFW estimated the pack included one adult female and two pups.
The Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the department’s protocol indicate that post-removal evaluation period should consider any depredations that take place after one or more wolves are removed from a pack. WDFW determined that the seventh depredation by the Togo pack is new – not one that likely occurred during or before the removal period – allowing for the removal of additional wolves from the pack.
In the current situation, there is no clear path for removing the remaining adult female in the pack to address the repeated depredations without the risk of orphaning the pups. The department will continue to evaluate the situation, and will continue to work with the producer to implement non-lethal deterrents.