Washington kills 2 wolves to prevent preying on cattle

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Wolves are keystone species, a species that other species in the food web depend on, so much so that their absence could cause an ecosystem collapse over time. Yellowstone experienced this exact trophic cascade between 1926 and 1995. Everything about the landscape, from the largest animals down to the grass, was impacted by the wolves’ 70-year absence. Reintegration efforts have been ongoing since then, with much of the natural habitat rebounding and rebalancing. In 2020, the gray wolf was removed from the endangered species list after nearly 50 years of federal protection. Gray wolf populations are listed as stable, but debate among experts continues about the nuance of this classification.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Biologists working for the state of Washington have killed two members of the Leadpoint wolf pack this week in an effort to stop the pack from preying on cattle in Stevens County, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday.

An adult male wolf was killed on Tuesday and an adult female was killed on Wednesday.

“With the removal of two wolves, the lethal removal authorization and lethal removal permit are now expired,” the agency said in a news release.

Agency director Kelly Susewind last week authorized the killing of up to two members of the pack. That was after authorities documented five depredation events on cattle on private grazing lands since Aug. 22. Those attacks killed three head of livestock and injured two more, the agency said.

The attacks were all attributed to the Leadpoint pack, the agency said.

WDFW said it has not documented any additional wolf depredations in the Leadpoint pack territory since Sept. 19.