Washington approves killing of 2 wolves that prey on cattle

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The state of Washington on Friday authorized the killing of two wolves in the Togo pack in Ferry County because of repeated depredations of cattle grazing in the Kettle River Range.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said the pack has been involved in seven cattle depredations in the past 10 months, most recently on June 6.

Wildlife agents can start tracking the wolves on Tuesday, agency director Kelly Susewind said. That leaves time for conservation groups to challenge the kill order.

The agency previously authorized the killing of wolves from the Togo pack last summer, but no wolves could be found. In 2018 the state killed one member of the pack, Susewind said in a press release.

The state typically kills a few wolves in a problem pack, hoping that will stop the cattle depredations. If that doesn't work, the entire pack can be eliminated.

Wolves were exterminated in Washington by the 1930s, but began returning to the state from Idaho and British Columbia early this century. There have been repeated conflicts with cattle, leading to the extermination of some wolf packs.

Conservation groups have long criticized the killing to wolves on public lands to benefit cattle ranchers.