On July 24, WDFW was informed that a wolf in the Togo pack territory was shot in Ferry County in a reported caught-in-the-act scenario. A livestock producer shot the wolf as it was attacking a calf. The incident is under investigation by WDFW law enforcement. Based on evidence at the scene, the wolf was believed to be fatally wounded but it was not found after multiple attempts.
WDFW staff investigated the calf seen killed by the wolf, which was on a private grazing allotment within the Togo pack territory. External examination of the hide revealed bite lacerations and puncture wounds on the hindquarters. Lacerations and puncture wounds were present on the inner and outer sides of both hind legs, the rump, and tail. The left hamstring had been ripped and partially consumed. There were also bite lacerations and puncture marks on the left front leg and head around the left cheek, and the left ear was missing. The right hind leg and left front leg of the carcass had significant hemorrhaging and trauma in the subcutaneous layer and trauma in the underlying muscle tissue. The carcass was left on the landscape to assist in trapping efforts (for collaring) that were already ongoing and was later removed.
The livestock producer (producer 1) who owns the calf removes or secures livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd, calves away from areas occupied by wolves, avoids known wolf high activity areas, and monitors the herd with a range rider. A WDFW-contracted range rider has been working with this producer since May.
On July 29, WDFW staff received another report of a dead calf on a public grazing allotment in Ferry County within the Togo pack territory. Upon examination, staff documented hemorrhaging on both hindquarters and the right rear leg. The investigation revealed bite lacerations and puncture wounds to the right flank and hip, left flank and hock, and the head of the tail. Most of the muscle tissue was consumed. The carcass appeared to be less than 12 hours old and was removed from the area after the investigation.
Another depredation incident affecting the same producer within the Togo pack territory was investigated and confirmed on July 31. WDFW staff received a report of an injured calf in the same area on July 30. The calf had wounds on the inner left leg and base of the tail. The examination showed significant trauma to the muscle tissue below the epidermal layer. The bite wounds and lacerations had begun to heal.
The livestock producer (producer 2) who owns these livestock removes or secures livestock carcasses to avoid attracting wolves to the rest of the herd (when discovered), removes sick and injured livestock (when discovered) from the grazing area until they are healed, calves away from areas occupied by wolves, avoids known wolf high activity areas, delays turnout of livestock onto grazing allotments until June 10 when calving is finished (and deer fawns, elk calves, and moose calves become available as prey), and monitors the herd with a range rider.
In the July 24 and July 29 incidents detailed here, there was physical evidence of an attack at each site and wolf tracks near the scene. For all three incidents, based on the combination of bite wounds with associated hemorrhaging and wolf sign in the area, WDFW staff classified these events as confirmed wolf depredations.
The Togo pack has been involved in four depredation incidents (three in the last 30 days, four in the last 10 months) since Oct. 26, 2018. WDFW includes a summary of all documented depredation activity within the past ten months in every monthly wolf update. WDFW lethally removed an adult male from the pack on Sept. 2, 2018. For a summary of removal operations in the Togo pack during 2018, please see page 28 of the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management 2018 Annual Report.
WDFW staff are discussing how best to address this situation; Director Susewind will also assess this situation and consider next steps.