This is a weekly update for the area of new wolf pack activity in southeast Washington’s Columbia County following the authorization of lethal removal permits by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Director Kelly Susewind on Nov. 10.
On Nov. 10, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind authorized permits for the removal of up to two wolves from an area of new wolf pack activity that is north of the Touchet pack territory and west of the Tucannon pack territory. This action is in response to repeated depredations of cattle on private grazing lands in Columbia 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.
In response to an additional depredation documented on Nov. 15 (totaling five depredation events since August 25, 2021) in this pack area, Director Susewind amended his Nov. 10 authorization to allow WDFW to lethally remove one to two wolves from the area of new wolf activity in Columbia County and to suspend lethal permits issued to livestock producers during WDFW operations.
On Nov. 18, WDFW lethally removed an adult, male member from the pack area. Permits issued to livestock producers that were suspended during WDFW operations have been reissued to allow for the removal of one wolf in addition to the one removed by WDFW.
WDFW staff and the livestock producer who experienced the Nov. 15 depredation also deployed fladry around the weaning pasture and the pasture with cow/calf pairs and reduced the size of the pasture with weaning calves.
The lethal removal permits expire when one wolf has been removed, livestock are moved from the affected pastures, or after Dec. 10, 2021 (regardless of whether wolves have been removed), whichever comes first. The authorization could be extended or amended to include other wolves in the pack area if additional depredations are documented in the 30 days following the initial authorization or other extenuating circumstances are identified.
WDFW will keep the public informed about this activity through weekly updates. The next update will be provided on December 1.
2021 Columbia County area of new wolf activity updates
WDFW will provide a final report on this and any other lethal removal actions during 2021 in the Washington Gray Wolf Conservation and Management 2021 Annual Report, which will be published during spring 2022.
A summary of all documented depredation activity within the past 10 months is included in every monthly wolf update.