Washington Fish and Wildlife Confirms More Livestock Attacks After Shooting Wrong Wolf

by Lauren Boisvert
(Image Credit: Andyworks/Getty Images)

Last month, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife botched an attempt to cull the state’s Smackout wolf pack after numerous cattle were killed. Now, the department is considering another attempt after even more attacks on domestic cattle. In Stevens County, the department confirmed a wolf attack on a calf in a private pasture. There was also an attack on Monday, Oct. 3, and at least another on Sept. 26.

The botched attempt occurred in September when department officials in a helicopter shot the wrong wolf, accidentally shooting a pup from another pack instead of the offender from the Smackout pack. The pack has killed at least 11 head of cattle since August 17, according to Fish and Wildlife.

Biologists also culled the Leadpoint pack, killing two wolves in a further attempt to stop the attacks on cattle in Stevens County, Washington. According to Fish and Wildlife, the population has grown since 2020, when there were 178 wolves in 29 packs. As of December 2021, there are 206 wolves in 33 packs living in Washington State.

Washington Fish And Wildlife Killed Two Wolves Earlier This Year To Curb the Cattle Attacks

Earlier in September, WDFW director Kelly Susewind announced that two wolves from the Leadpoint pack would be euthanized in the wake of multiple cattle attacks in private pastures. According to the department, culling the packs after incidents like this is adherent to the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.

The WDFW responded to five reports of cattle depredation on or after August 22. Three of the incidents resulted in dead cattle, while the other two attacks resulted in injuries. The order expired after the two Leadpoint wolves were culled. But the recent subsequent attacks now open up new orders for “lethal disposal.”

“If WDFW documents additional livestock depredations indicating a renewed pattern of depredation, WDFW may initiate another lethal removal action,” said department officials in a statement this September.

Red Wolves Making a New Home in South Carolina Next Spring

In conservation news, three rare red wolves are traveling from a zoo in Ohio. They will be making new homes at Brookgreen Gardens in South Carolina next spring. This initiative is part of the Red Wolf Recovery Program from the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Brookgreen Gardens will conduct breeding programs that will revitalize the population. Most of the wolves will be released into the wild in North Carolina and possibly Lowcountry South Carolina. But, some will also live in captivity as well. Currently, there are only about 300 red wolves left in the world. Most live in captivity, and there are only 21 wild wolves living in North Carolina.

“These animals are disappearing and if we don’t do something to help them, you’re going to just be looking at pictures or cadavers in a museum,” said animals curator at Brookgreen Gardens Andrea DeMuth. “You’re not going to be looking at the real thing.’’