Elk NetworkWashington Court Denies Request to Prevent Removal of Problem Wolves

General | August 9, 2019

A King County Superior Court Commissioner denied a motion from an out-of-state environmental group for a temporary injunction that would have prohibited the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from lethally removing wolves from the Old Profanity Territory (OPT) pack in Ferry County.

As a result, the department can remove wolves from the OPT pack as authorized July 31 by WDFW Director Kelly Susewind.

Although it is not currently named as a petitioner, the Maryland-based Center for a Humane Economy took credit for seeking the injunction, through two Seattle plaintiffs, one day after the department announced Susewind’s authorization.

On Aug. 1, the King County Superior Court Commissioner said the petitioners had not met the criteria for temporary injunctive relief. The court will hold a preliminary injunction hearing on Aug. 16. WDFW will provide the court with a status update on any additional depredations, wolf removals, and the producer’s efforts to deter livestock depredations before the hearing.

Susewind authorized removal of wolves from the OPT pack after WDFW staff documented the pack’s involvement in 27 confirmed livestock depredations since Sept. 5, 2018.

WDFW’s 2011 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan and wolf-livestock interaction protocol provide guidance on addressing wolf-livestock conflict, including lethal removal to address patterns of depredation, such as when department staff confirms three predations by wolves on livestock within 30 days or four within 10 months, where non-lethal deterrents have not prevented wolf-livestock conflict.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation remains a long-time advocate for state management of gray wolves.

(Photo source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)