(SEATTLE) — Wildlife officials in Washington state have made the decision to kill an entire pack of endangered gray wolves after several attacks on livestock.
This week, ranchers discovered two calf carcasses in addition to an injured calf, leading to the decision to eliminate the pack, KOMO, an ABC television affiliate in Seattle reported.
The wolves, known as the Profanity Peak wolf pack, have killed or injured six cows and are suspected in the deaths of at least five others since mid-July.
On Aug. 5, Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife officials culled two members of the pack, in the hopes of preventing any future livestock deaths.
“At that time, we said we would restart this operation if there was another wolf attack, and now we have three,” Donny Martorello, department wolf policy lead, told KOMO. “The department is committed to wolf recovery, but we also have a shared responsibility to protect livestock from repeated depredation by wolves.”
Jim Unsworth, director of Fish and Wildlife, authorized field staff to remove the remaining members of the pack after the two calves were found, according to KOMO.
The Profanity Peak wolf pack is one of 19 known wolf packs in Washington state, KOMO reported.
The pack had at least 11 members, including six adults and five pups earlier this summer.
In 1978, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service reclassifed the gray wolf as endangered.
In some areas, the wolves have made a strong comeback, prompting calls for them to be delisted, especially as run-ins with human populations have increased.
Since 2008, Washington’s confirmed wolf population has grown from two wolves in one pack to at least 90 wolves and 19 packs by early 2016, wildlife figures show.
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