NEAR KETTLE FALLS, Wash. -- Rancher Bill McIrvin and his hands are on constant alert after recent attacks left two calves dead and other cows wounded or missing.
He said he wants the state to take action against a wolf pack -- seen, but never confirmed -- in the Colville National Forest where McIrvin has a lease to graze his cattle.
Last week the state took action, and on Monday a WDFW biologist captured, collared and released what tracker Paul Frame said is the alpha male of the pack. Then Frame captured what the state had been waiting for -- a pup.
A WDFW spokesperson said the pup's presence is enough to declare the wolves here an official Washington State pack and count them toward the state's tally needed to remove wolves from its endangered species list.
The Wedge Pack becomes the eighth confirmed pack in the state. If that number grows to 15, and adult pairs continue to mate in three designated areas of the state, the wolf will be removed the Washington State Endangered Species List. That would allow ranchers and others greater freedom to protect their property from wolves.