By MATTHEW WEAVER
A Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife marksman has killed the Wedge Wolf Pack's alpha male near the Canadian border, bringing to six the total number of wolves shot during the week.
The Sept. 27 killing concluded the state's efforts to eliminate the wolves, which northeastern Washington ranchers said had killed or injured at least 20 cattle.
State officials estimated at least eight wolves were originally in the pack.
Department director Phil Anderson said in a press release the pack's removal was necessary to reset the stage for sustainable wolf recovery in the region.
The department will continue to monitor wolf activity in the region and work with ranchers and conservation groups to promote non-lethal tactics to avoid wolf attacks on livestock.
"Lethal removal will remain a wolf management option, but we will use it only as a last resort, after all reasonable non-lethal options are exhausted," Anderson said.