OPT pack attacks continue

A wolf leaves after being captured and collared by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in northeast Washington. Sources say three more calves were attacked by wolves from the OPT pack late last week.

Washington Fish and Wildlife determined Friday the OPT wolfpack preyed on three more calves grazing in the Colville National Forest in northeast Washington, sources said Monday.

The pack has attacked at least six calves and probably a seventh since the Fish and Wildlife shot one wolf July 13. The department paused to see whether the pack would stop attacking cattle.

Fish and Wildlife has not said how it will respond to the continuing depredations on cattle owned by the Diamond M ranch. A Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman said staff members were developing a recommendation to send to department Director Kelly Susewind.

The pack has four adults and at least four pups. The pack has attacked at least 26 cattle since Sept. 5, according to the department.

Fish and Wildlife ruled one other depredation "probable." Investigators found wolf tracks around a mostly consumed calf. Fish and Wildlife confirms depredations when enough remains of the calf to see wolf bites.

In response to attacks last fall, the department shot two wolves in the OPT pack. When the attacks continued, the department announced it planned to shoot two more wolves.

The department suspended the operation after two weeks without killing a wolf. The department said most of the cattle were off by the summer grazing allotment by then.

The pack resumed attacking cattle in early July.

Fish and Wildlife has said the ranch has taken non-lethal steps to prevent conflicts between wolves and livestock. Cattlemen say wolves have reduced the deer and elk populations and are turning to livestock for food.

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