Four wolves killed by Washington state agents — hours before court hearing to protect them

The fate of the last wolf from that pack will be determined at trial.

A King County Superior Court judge ordered state officials on Friday morning to temporarily stop killing members of a wolf pack in the Colville National Forest, in northeastern Washington — but their fate had already been decided.

Hours earlier, state officials had already killed most of the pack, known as the Old Profanity Territory pack.

They had killed four of them early Friday morning — before the 9:30 a.m. court hearing started. And they’d already killed four others between July 31 and August 13.

That left only one wolf still alive when the restraining order was issued. That animal’s fate will be decided at a trial.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife was killing the wolves because the pack had killed or injured 14 cattle over the past 10 months.

“Lethal removal” of wolves that attack livestock is part of the state’s strategy for managing wolves in the eastern third of the state, where the animals are not federally listed as an endangered species.

It costs the state about $20,000 to kill one wolf.

Before the state kills wolves, ranchers have to prove they took reasonable steps to protect their livestock, such as employing cowboys known as range riders, using light and noise to scare wolves away from cattle, and removing sick and injured animals from the range.

The Center for a Humane Economy, the organization that sued the state to stop killing the wolf pack, said the rancher did not take adequate steps.

In fact, the rancher asked those state range riders – meant to scare the wolves – to leave his range on July 8. Nine of the 14 wolf attacks on cattle occurred that day and in the following month.

The judge ruled that there was enough of a question about whether or not the rancher had taken adequate preventative steps to allow the case to go to trial.

By killing four of the wolves in the early morning hours the day of the hearing, the state was acting in “tremendously bad faith,” said Wayne Pacelle, president of the Center for a Humane Economy.

“It’s like, ‘Okay, we’ve got to get these wolves now, in case the judge stops us,’” he said.

Staci Lehman, a spokesperson for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said it was just a matter of “unfortunate timing.”

“It’s always unfortunate whenever we have to remove wolves,” Lehman said. “It’s never taken lightly by anybody at the department.”

This is the second wolf pack state officials have eliminated from the same territory in less than three years. State agents killed seven members of the pack that previously occupied the area, known as the Profanity Peak pack, in 2016.

The area has lots of elk and deer and potential den sites, so both environmentalists and the state agree that a new pack is likely to form there soon.

But, Lehman said, a new pack wouldn’t necessarily attack livestock.

“If we start off with a new pack using preventative measures” that teach wolves not to prey on livestock, she says — measures such as range riders and light and noise — “then hopefully we can prevent that.”

But Pacelle said he’d rather that the Forest Service end grazing allotments in wolf habitat such as this. He says that would be the best way to minimize conflict between wolves and livestock.

The eight wolves from the Old Profanity Territory pack are unlikely to be the last ones state wildlife officials kill this year.

State agents have a current lethal removal order for one to two members of the Togo Pack, another northeast Washington wolf pack accused of attacking livestock.

That would bring the number of wolves killed by state agents this year to nine or 10 — seven to eight percent of Washington’s total wolf population.

https://www.kuow.org/stories/four-wolves-killed-by-washington-state-agents-hours-before-court-hearing-to-protect-them

BREAKING: Popular Lion Killed by Hunters on World Lion Day, in Zimbabwe

sapeople.com
Jenni Baxter

A popular male lion, which had been photographed frequently by hundreds of visitors to Hwange National Park in west Zimbabwe, was shot dead by hunters this last weekend on World Lion Day (10 August).
Male lion Seduli has been shot dead by hunters in Zimbabwe. Photo: Drew Abrahamson

In a heartbreaking message on social media on Wednesday evening, Captured in Africa (CIA) Foundation founder Drew Abrahamson announced the devastating news, which she had found out today.

The lion was apparently on the outskirts of the park. CIA had regularly published posts about Seduli and another male lion, Mopane, who had been photographed together by many international safari visitors over the past few years.

Abrahamson said: “Despite our previous attempts as a community online to prevent these two males from being hunted, Seduli has unnecessarily lost his life at the hands of hunters and Mopani now roams the wilds without his companion.”

She posted two photos – one of Seduli, and another showing other Hwange male lions who have been killed in this region over the past decade. One of the most famous lions to be killed was one named Cecil in 2015.

Other Hwange male lions killed by hunters in the past decade. Photo: Drew Abrahamson

“Does this number of male lions shot over 10 years in one region appear sustainable to you given that lion populations have declined across Africa by 43% in the last 25 years?

“Add to this that with each of these males taken out of a pride, came the loss of either lionesses and cubs dying in the change-over or conflict it caused.

“Dispersal of youngsters fleeing into external areas creating potential human-wildlife conflict issues with communities living on the borders of the park is not uncommon and is proven in some cases to be as a direct result of these pride males being taken out by hunters,” said Abrahamson.

Supporters of hunting claim that the sport’s focus is on sustainability, and that the areas in which hunting takes place are not suitable for photographic safaris and therefore by using them for hunting it generates revenue to maintain these wild habitats.

“But how are you protecting the wildlife if you are taking out males from prides who frequent the National Park?” asks Abrahamson.

It’s time, she says, for an independent scientific study on the sustainability of the numbers taken from this region, and the impact these losses are having on the lion pride dynamics, as well as the knock-on affect to communities in these areas.

According to Abrahamson, these are healthy lions being taken out of the gene pool, and lions which are still breeding and actively part of a healthy pride. These lions traverse the park and viable protected photographic areas. She says their loss contradicts the hunters’ philosophies.

Abrahamson asked that readers “share this far and wide to raise awareness of the continued unsustainable hunting taking place on the outskirts of Hwange, and to raise a call for the photographic operators and stakeholders in dialogue with Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority to address the issue of continued losses of lions known to and photographed by the hundreds of visitors who pay to visit Zimbabwe annually.”

https://www.sapeople.com/2019/08/14/breaking-popular-lion-seduli-killed-by-hunters-on-world-lion-day-in-zimbabwe/amp/