The Togo wolfpack killed another calf on a Forest Service grazing allotment in the Kettle River Range, Washington Fish and Wildlife confirmed Friday, but the department has put on hold plans to eliminate the pack to be sure it doesn't cross a judge in Seattle.
The depredation was the first by the Togo pack since Aug. 11 and the first since Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind authorized the department on Aug. 9 to kill the pack's two known wolves.
The pack had killed or injured six cattle in the previous 30 days, double the threshold for the department to consider lethal control.
Fish and Wildlife has not killed either wolf, and now the lethal-removal operation has a legal complication stemming from the department's elimination of the neighboring OPT pack, also in the Kettle River Range in Ferry County.
King County Superior Court Judge John McHale ordered the department Aug. 16 to not kill the last OPT wolf. McHale's order was based on information from the department that there was one wolf left to protect.
Later that day, however, Fish and Wildlife revealed the surviving wolf was probably a lone wolf photographed in June near the pack, but probably just passing through and never belonging to the pack.
Wolf advocates who won the preliminary injunction from McHale have asked the judge to broaden his protection order to the entire Kettle River Range to ensure Fish and Wildlife doesn't kill that surviving wolf.
McHale has yet to rule on the request.
Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman said Monday morning the department is considering what to do next. It was not currently looking to remove the Togo pack, she said.
"We want to make sure we're within the letter of the law," she said.
Fish and Wildlife says there would be no way to identify the lone wolf.
Fish and Wildlife says it believes there are two wolves left in the Togo pack. A rancher shot a third wolf this month as it was attacking cattle. The wolf ran away and has not been found, but officials believe the wound was serious enough to be fatal.
Fish and Wildlife shot eight OPT pack wolves this summer and two last fall. The pack had attacked at least 29 cattle since last September.
McHale issued the preliminary injunction against killing the last wolf in the OPT pack after ruling that the wolf advocates would be harmed if the wolf were killed. Two King County residents said in court filings that they hope to see wolves in the wild.