Washington state officials have been given the OK to harvest 11 gray wolves after the predators were determined to have been preying on cows, NBC News reports.
Concerns began in early July when dead calves were found in the Colville Confederated Tribe reservation in Ferry County, NBC reports, and deliberations on what the Fish and Wildlife (DFW) should do about what is called a “lethal removal action” began when seven more calves were found dead or injured from July 12 to Aug. 3.
Washington DFW director Jim Unsworth officially approved the order last week, NBC News reports, after two more calves were found dead or injured in a grazing area.
The Colville Confederated Tribe reservation is a confirmed home to a wolf pack that consists of six adults and five cubs, the website reports.
NBC News reports Washington state has only 19 confirmed wolf packs, which consists of 90 overall wolves. By harvesting 11 wolves that make up what’s called the Profanity Peak pack, that removes more than 12 percent of the confirmed population.
While the DFW’s decision is a solution to the issue at hand, there have been numerous naysayers step to the microphone and express their opinions.
“I was told that removal of half the pack would make a difference, and now we’re being told they are going to remove the entire pack,” said Sen. Kevin Ranker, a former chairman of the state Senate Natural Resources Committee, to NBC News. “They haven’t implemented their first plan.”
Ranker’s disagreement with the decision is similar to that of Shawn Cantrell, who is the Northwest program director of the non-profit environmental group Defenders of Wildlife.
NBC News reports Cantrell was not shy about showing his disappointment of the harvesting but did credit the state for looking into other solutions.
“Removing members of the Profanity Peak wolf pack is a loss to wolf recovery efforts in the region,” he told NBC News. “The best thing to do is to learn from this sad outcome and redouble our collective efforts to proactively prevent future livestock-wolf conflicts.”
A PDF of the DFW’s timeline of 2016 wolf-livestock conflict can be viewed here.