Washington State Wipes Out Wolf Pack For Ranch Family Before Judge Could Could Rule

Environmentalists and wildlife advocates are outraged after the Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife wiped out a wolf pack this week ahead of a court order that would have spared them.

The reintroduction of wolves to ecosystems in several states has been largely successful even though the species is still endangered. In Washington, the population of wolves only numbers 125, and if a ranch family has their way, wolves will be eradicated again.

While wolves do sometimes attack and kill livestock, it’s very rare, especially since cattle ranchers can hire state range riders to keep watch and chase wolves away. But Len and Bill McIrvin don’t hire quality riders to patrol their ranch, the Diamond M Ranch, and have refused to hire state qualified riders to do the job.

Instead, they prefer to whine and complain after wolves attack the cattle they graze on public lands in an effort to force the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to kill the wolves.

And so far, two packs have been ruthlessly eliminated, including the Old Profanity Territory pack in the Colville National Forest of Northeastern Washington, which is believed to be down to only one wolf left after the state killed four on Friday, including pups, just hours before a court could issue an injunction to protect the remaining members.

It’s true that the wolves attacked livestock, but it’s only because the McIrvin family is too lazy to patrol their own ranch and too greedy to pay riders to do it for them. In fact, ever since the family refused to keep state riders on the job in July, nine attacks have taken place.

With that lack of personal responsibility, the state should be protecting the wolves instead of the McIrvin ranch.

Understandably, people are outraged the state took this action knowing that a ruling was imminent.

“It’s unbelievably tragic that this wolf family has already been annihilated by the state,” Sophia Ressler of Center for Biological Diversity told the Associated Press. “It seems like Washington’s wildlife agency is bent on wiping out the state’s wolves.”

In a statement, Center for a Humane Economy president Wayne Pacelle hailed the ruling but slammed the state for killing the wolves anyway and blasted the McIrvin family.

“This is a bittersweet courtroom victory because the Department of Fish and Wildlife gunned down four more wolves on the very morning of the judicial proceeding,” Pacelle said. “The Department of Fish and Wildlife had a strong indication that its actions were not legally defensible, but they charged ahead anyway and all but eliminated another wolf pack. It’s like, ‘Okay, we’ve got to get these wolves now, in case the judge stops us.'”

“The McIrvin family is baiting wolves with live cattle on our federal lands,” Pacelle continued. “And then they complain when the inevitable occurs, and then plead with the state to kill more wolves from helicopters.”

Ecowatch reports that complaints from the McIrvin family have resulted in 87 percent of the wolf killings in the entire state.

The organization also called out Washington Governor Jay Inslee, who is supposed to be an environmental advocate, for not intervening to stop his own officials from killing the wolf pack.

“I am deeply disappointed that Governor Inslee ignored the requests of countless Washingtonians to intervene and stop the needless killing of these wolves,” Jennifer McCausland of the Center for a Humane Economy said. “He could have restrained the worst instincts and actions of his own wildlife agency but he stayed on the sidelines when we needed him most.”

Clearly, the state should not have killed these wolves, and it’s time for the Department of Fish and Wildlife to take a closer look at the McIrvin family. Again, the only reason why these ranchers are losing cattle is because they refuse to take proper steps to protect their livestock. Wolves deserve more protection from the state than a lazy and greedy ranch family’s cattle. After all, there are only 125 wolves in the state compared to over 200,000 cows.

Featured Image: Wikimedia

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Stephen D. Foster Jr.

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