WASHINGTON STATE ACCIDENTALLY
SHOOTS ALPHA WOLF
Please speak up to halt further
Huckleberry Pack bloodshed.
Gary M Chittim, 5:48 p.m. PDT September 4, 2014
STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. -- When a sharpshooter took out a member of a problem wolf pack last month, it looked like a small female, but it wasn't just any female. A necropsy determined it was the breeding female of the Huckleberry Pack, Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDF&W) officials said today.
The Huckleberry Pack has been feeding on sheep being raised on private forest lands in northern Stevens County.
State decides to kill, not scare, wolves
On patrol to save sheep and wolves
WDF&W biologists tried non-lethal means to keep the wolves away from the 1,800 head sheep herd. But when they found five dead sheep and three injured on August 23, they issued the order to kill up to four wolves in the pack.
The only wolf killed was the female shot from a helicopter by a federal contractor.
WDF&W was hoping to keep the breeding pair alive so that if the pack learned to leave the sheep alone, it could rebuild and return to hunting wild animals.
Fish & Wildlife hunting wolves that killed sheep
Rancher moves sheep away from wolf pack
"Obviously, this is an unfortunate development and one we hoped to avoid," said Nate Pamplin, WDF&W's Assistant Wildlife Program Director. "We provided direction for individuals involved in aerial removals or trapping/euthanasia to try to remove smaller bodied animals."
He added the alpha wolf weighed 66 pounds and was 3 years old. Pamplin said they couldn't determine it was the alpha female from the air.
Biologists say losing the alpha female harms the survival of a wolf pack, but other females in the pack may fill that role.
Reposted from, and thank you, as always, to Bob Ferris at Cascadia Wildlands:
THE HUCKLEBERRY ALPHA FEMALE
IS DEAD : WOLVES -1 AND WDFW CREDIBILITY 0
By Bob Ferris
I am bone tired after dogging the Huckleberry Pack issue nearly non-stop for approaching two weeks. And now I am angry and disappointed. That is a very bad time to put your thoughts down electronically, but someone needs to.
I am not angry at the rancher who may have or may have not placed sheep in harm’s way. He was just being a rancher—acting as we have come to expect from this quadrant of Washington. Perhaps he was pushing the issue and abusing the system, but that is relatively immaterial to my anger.
I am not angry at the private timber company who allowed the sheep on to their property so that they could graze forest understory that could have been used by deer and elk populations. That is even though they are more than likely getting tax breaks from the State for providing benefits for wildlife and watersheds. Still not there anger-wise.
I am mad, however, at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Why? Not because their contractor could have made an honest mistake and shot an unintended wolf. Not because they said they would not shoot either of the alpha wolves in this pack. I have worked in wildlife long enough and under tough conditions to know that honest wildlife managers working under similar conditions can make mistakes.
I am mad because the WDFW did not own up to their mistake when it happened. Why would I learn about this 12 days after it happened and then only because I saw a random Facebook post made by a fairly new friend of a tweet by a Washington newscaster (see above)? Really?
After the Wedge Pack disaster of 2012 the WDFW had a heavy burden to carry in terms of their credibility as an agency capable of dealing with the complexity of wolf recovery. They were given a second chance with the Huckleberry Pack to do it right and demonstrate that they were willing and able to deal with this recovery.
They were on a path to failing the test put before them, but with this action (or inaction) WDFW just put the punctuation on that failing grade. Clearly the Governor and legislators need to step in and force the agency to undergo the rule making that we have all requested. But it is more than that, because this is a cultural failure within this public agency and in their governing body to understand their responsibility to the whole public in this matter and not just ranching interests and trophy hunters.
For the Huckleberry Pack
Categories: Blog Home Page Hot Topic Uncategorized Washington Wolves Wolves and Allies Posted on September 4, 2014 at 6:40 pm.
6 Responses to The Huckleberry Alpha Female is Dead: Wolves -1 and WDFW Credibility 0
REBECCA STAMOS SAYS:
SEPTEMBER 4, 2014 AT 8:00 PM
I was wondering how this was going to work out, shooting wolves from a helicopter. This is about as unscientific as it can get, wolves on the run, take your best shot. It's hard to believe this comes from the State Agency in charge of managing wolves. I say, and I will continue to say, "wolves do not belong to the states in which they reside, they belong to all Americans". Wildlife is a national treasure and we should all be good stewards of our national treasure.
MEL SCAMMAN SAYS:
SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 AT 4:03 AM
Maybe they didn't say anything because they are so dysfunctional and so in denial at WDFW that they actually believe they can get away with it? If that is correct, then it is logical to assume they have gotten away with it before. Past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Let's nip this behavior in the bud! That 'bud' would be the governor's political career. We should also use this as a prime example as to why states do not have the ability to make responsible decisions in managing wolves when their management agency has no set rules, and refuses to even talk about adopting them. Washington State is now going to be used as a bad example when writing to USFWS regarding he delisting issue. As sad and angry as we are now, we must not forget we are arguing for wolves on both the state and federal levels now. It is the perfect argument for the need for federal relisting.
CAROLYNE MILLING SAYS:
SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 AT 8:19 AM
Please protect these vital animals, so critical to a healthy wilderness.
JANICE SAMPO SAYS:
SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 AT 9:01 AM
I am so turnoff and discussed with WDFW, their credibility is beyond repair. There needs to be a total shake-up and cleaning up of WDFW NOW!!! How they continue to mislead & screwup is unacceptable!
SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 AT 9:57 AM
I shared this with the governor today, along with my plea that he take action on this before more wolves die. (And that he fire the DFW staff.)
ANNETTE HOWELL SAYS:
SEPTEMBER 5, 2014 AT 1:06 PM
It's 'mistakes' like this that will ultimately lead to the extinction of any species. I fault any government or group that thinks it is ok to so agressively kill a species down to just a few and not carefully monitor what they have left. It's a disaster in the making. They don't care enough to do the right thing when it matters & inevitably will end up killing the entire species with their carelessness.
- See more at: http://www.cascwild.org/the-huckleberry-alpha-female-is-dead-wolves-1-and-wdfw-credibility-0/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=the-huckleberry-alpha-female-is-dead-wolves-1-and-wdfw-credibility-0#sthash.XUN1CuHb.dpuf
If you have the time, please drop a line to Phil Anderson, to say "enough is enough."
WDFW killed an Alpha Wolf and left her pups orphaned. The sheep ranchers who called for this action need to know that their losses were not the only ones to be considered. Thank you for speaking up.
Please take action for the remaining
Huckleberry Pack Wolves.