NE Washington-Today, July 31, 2019, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reactivated its order to kill wolves of the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) Pack in Ferry County in response to livestock losses on public lands grazing allotments in the Colville National Forest.
These grazing allotments have been the site of multiple livestock conflicts with wolves in the last three years. The Diamond M Ranch’s public land livestock operations have resulted in the killing of 20 recovering wolves including the Wedge Pack in 2012, the Profanity Peak Pack in 2016, the Sherman Pack in 2017, as well as wolves removed from the Sherman and Togo Packs in 2018, and now the OPT Pack in 2019. The constants here are the producer, and the public land area being grazed.
A letter submitted to WDFW Director Kelly Susewind last week (attached) highlights a different approach. The letter insists WDFW work with the U.S. Forest Service to modify grazing practices on public land to support wildlife over livestock. Livestock should be relocated and when conflicts occur wildlife should not be killed. These points were discussed by Mike Petersen, Executive Director of The Lands Council, in a meeting with Director Susewind today.
“It is time for the Forest Service to use the flexibility built in to allotment agreements to shut down these areas of chronic conflict,” said Chris Bachman of The Lands Council, “It is evident at this point, grazing in an area of prime wolf habitat is folly. This is an area where livestock will continue to fall prey to wolves. We need to find effective sustainable solutions. Each time wolves have been removed due to conflicts with Diamond M cattle, more wolves move in to occupy the area. It’s time to try moving the cattle instead.”