The Togo wolfpack’s male, targeted for culling by Washington wildlife managers and believed to be the wolf shot at by a rancher last week, has been seen and appears to have a broken leg, according to the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The wolf was tracked down by a state biologist and Ferry County sheriff’s wildlife deputy on Monday, four days after the livestock producer reported shooting in self-defense at a black-colored wolf wearing a GPS collar. The description matched the Togo pack’s adult male.
The biologist got within approximately 20 yards of the wolf before it ran away. The wolf’s left rear leg appeared to be broken below the knee, according to Fish and Wildlife.
Department wildlife managers said they believe the wolf has a good chance of surviving, and that the department will continue to monitor its movements. The department said it will consider euthanizing the animal if it does not remain active.
Fish and Wildlife gave notice Aug. 20 it planned to kill the male wolf to deter the pack from attacking cattle on Forest Service grazing allotments. Thurston County Superior Court Judge Chris Lanese intervened that day at the request of two environmental groups and issued a temporary restraining order. Another Thurston County judge, Carol Murphy, was scheduled to hear arguments Friday on whether to extend the order.
The wolf was captured in early June and fitted with a GPS collar that transmits its location. The Togo pack’s female is the only other known adult in the pack.
The rancher said the wolf’s collar indicated it was near his cattle Aug. 23, according to Fish and Wildlife. The rancher said he went to the area, saw pups, was approached by the barking wolf and shot at it in self-defense. The department said Tuesday it was continuing to investigate the shooting.
Fish and Wildlife has attributed six attacks on cattle to the pack since early November. Three of the depredations occurred this month. The number of attacks met the threshold for the department to cull the pack. The department intended to shoot the male wolf and leave the female wolf. The pack produced pups this year.
The department’s Wolf Advisory Group agreed to the lethal-removal policy in 2017. The group included representatives from the Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the United States and other environmental and animal-welfare organizations. The policy obligates ranchers to employ non-lethal preventive measures.
The department hoped a broad-based advisory group would help foster tolerance in Washington for wolves and acceptance of killing wolves to stop chronic depredations.
The Tucson, Ariz.-based Center for Biological Diversity and Eugene-based Cascadia Wildlands argue the policy failed to go through proper public review and violates the Washington’s Environmental Policy Act and Administrative Procedure Act.