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Washington wolf pack numbers grow, depredations continue

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In September, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife investigated five wolf depredations on livestock, including one that occurred in August.

Washington’s wolf population grew for the 13th consecutive year in 2021. According to the annual year-end wolf survey (released in 2022), wolf numbers increased to 206 wolves in 33 packs — 16 percent higher than the previous year.

According to the WFWD, the depredations occurred in the Leadpoint wolf pack territory in areas where range riders attempt to limit wolf-cattle incidents. The range rider program was added to the producer’s management strategies through the Cattle Producers of Washington. Currently, the rancher utilizes two riders to keep cattle in the valley bottoms and out of tr»eed areas.

»Related: Wolf attacks: Rancher finds best defense is the herd

In addition, trees and brush were removed in an area on the ranch where wolves were likely to cross, and the producer reportedly removed sick or injured animals from the pastures when found. Carcasses were also immediately and properly disposed of.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife utilized control methods in the area, including a radio-activated guard box and Fox lights where the depredations occurred.

The first depredation was a wolf kill on Sept. 1. The dead calf was reported by a range rider on private pastures in Stevens County.

The second kill occurred on Sept. 16. WDFW staff investigated a cow that was also found by a range rider on private pastures. Injuries included lacerations and subcutaneous hemorrhaging on the right flank.

Related: Wisconsin farm family talks about living a wolf-attack nightmare

The third set of depredations occurred on two claves in a private pasture. The first calf investigated has lacerations to the hindquarter and hemorrhaging on the inner right hindquarter. The second calf had large puncture wounds and lacerations to the groin, hindquarters, and hamstrings.

In Washington, livestock injured by predators may be eligible for compensation using state funds. Claimants must provide documentation that includes the commercial value of animals, an estimate of the percentage loss of value for their injured livestock, and a claim form.

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