Livestock documented not far from Profanity Peak wolf den, researcher concludes

Livestock killed by a wolf pack located at Profanity Peak in Ferry County, leading to lethal measures by the state to get rid of the wolves, were documented to be near the pack's den. That's according to a Washington State University researcher. But his findings may be creating a rift with the university.

The killing of livestock last summer prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in August to remove the wolf pack lethally -- a controversial decision that pitted ranchers against wolf advocates. But the effort to remove them was called off in October after the state had killed about a dozen wolves.

Dr. Robert Wielgus, associate professor and director of the Large Carnivore Conservation Lab at WSU released his latest findings Tuesday. He also says that salt blocks, used by livestock to obtain essential minerals, were observed less than 700 feet from the den.

Several days after livestock arrived at the den site, wolves began depredating, or prey upon, the livestock, wrote Wielgus. Several were eventually killed by wolves.

"After a failure of subsequent non-lethal interventions to deter livestock depredations the wolf pack was lethally controlled," wrote Wielgus.

Wielgus also claims that the "rancher involved did not sign and abide by the terms of a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Cooperative Damage Prevention Agreement prior to lethal control" of the wolves and that the cattle remained in "high use" areas even after lethal measures were taken.

To distance itself from Weilgus' findings, WSU put out a statement saying the findings "do not reflect the opinions or views of Washington State University" and that it will determine whether Weilgus' press release violates university policies and/or state laws.

This isn't the first time WSU has responded to a finding by Weilgus related to the Profanity Peak wolves. In a statement last August, the university called some of Weilgus' statements "both inaccurate and inappropriate."

© 2017 KING-TV


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