Abomination on Profanity Peak

In August of 2016, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (“WDFW”) killed nearly 10% of the state’s endangered gray wolf population at the behest of the state’s largest rancher – Diamond M Ranch – against the professional recommendations of wildlife biologists. This is the third employment of lethal control by the state since the 2012 and the second at the behest of Diamond M Ranch.Wolf lupines

During the past several years of Washington’s fledgling wolf management program, WDFW, with the cooperation of the Large Carnivore Conservation Laboratory at Washington State University, has developed a list of best management practices for livestock ranchers within eastern Washington to avoid depredation by wolves. Field research indicates that the most effective means to prevent conflicts are non-lethal control techniques; these include range riding to keep cattle separated from wildlife, guard dogs, livestock radio-collaring, flagging particular areas, use of light or sound devices to scare away wolves, putting out calves when they are older and larger, and fencing of grazing areas. Ranchers that agreed to employ these conflict prevention techniques and signed WDFW’s Cooperative Damage Agreement would then be compensated for any incidental livestock losses. With a large number of participating members enrolled in this nascent program, taxpayers of Washington have compensated ranchers for a total amount of $75,351.50 for 10 depredations events between 2012 and September 2016.

Washington’s largest cattle ranch, Diamond M Ranch, refused to join WDFW’s Cooperative Damage Agreement and elected not to employ the majority of livestock-wolf conflict prevention measures.

While grazing their cattle on a 30,000+ acre tract of public Forest Service land near Profanity Peak, Diamond M Ranch elected to install salt block attractants within a short distance of roads and 200 yards from a known wolf den in violation of their Forest Service grazing permit. The wolves acted as predicted and a series of cattle depredations occurred in the summer of 2016.

Having previously employed the public resources of the WDFW in 2012 to eliminate the Wedge pack of gray wolves, Diamond M Ranch once more requested that WDFW slaughter the wolf pack at Profanity Peak in lieu of financial recompense. Over the course of several weeks in August and September of 2016, WDFW proceeded to execute 7 wolves of Profanity Peak by means of helicopter snipers and state hunters. These efforts cost Washington taxpayers over $130,000; nearly twice as much as all livestock loss compensation paid by the State since the re-entry of the gray wolf to Washington.