This is a weekly update for the Leadpoint pack following the lethal removal authorization by WDFW Director Kelly Susewind on Aug. 13.
On Aug. 13, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind authorized Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) staff to lethally remove one to two wolves from the Leadpoint pack territory in response to repeated depredations of cattle on private grazing lands in Stevens County under the guidance of the state's Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and the lethal removal provisions of the department's wolf-livestock interaction protocol.
WDFW has not removed any wolves since the authorization, but has made attempts. WDFW has not documented any wolf depredations in the Leadpoint pack territory since Aug. 14. As of the date of this update, the pack has been involved in 12 depredation events in the last 10 months and zero in the last 30 days.
WDFW’s approach to incremental removal consists of a period of active operations followed by an evaluation period to determine if those actions changed the pack’s behavior (for example, by disrupting the overlap of wolves and livestock or the pattern of repeated depredation). If no wolves are removed during a period of attempted incremental removal, a period of evaluation will still occur to determine any shifts in the behavior of the pack; the act of attempting to lethally remove wolves (e.g., helicopter activity over a wolf territory, setting foothold traps in an area with livestock that have had frequent interactions with wolves) may result in meeting the goal of changing pack behavior and stopping recurrent depredations while continuing to promote wolf recovery. The department has now entered an evaluation period.
If WDFW documents additional livestock depredations indicating a renewed pattern of depredation, the Department may initiate another lethal removal action following the guidelines of the Wolf Plan and wolf-livestock interaction protocol.
2020 Leadpoint pack updates
WDFW will provide a final report on this and any other lethal removal operations during 2020 in the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management 2020 Annual Report, which will be published during spring 2021.
A summary of all documented depredation activity within the past 10 months is included in every monthly wolf update.