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Groups file lawsuit to stop wolf kill in Washington

FILE - This March 13, 2014, file photo, provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife shows a female wolf from the Minam pack outside La Grande, Ore., after it was fitted with a tracking collar. The population of wolves in Washington state grew by 28 percent last year, with at least two new packs, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife said Friday, March 17, 2017.(Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife via AP, File)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Two conservation groups said a lawsuit was filed to stop the Washington wildlife officials from killing members of the Togo wolf pack in Northeastern Washington.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands announced the lawsuit in a news release Monday afternoon.

The state issued the order to kill members of a wolf pack Monday morning claiming the wolves preyed on cattle.

“It’s outrageous that Washington wildlife officials want to kill more wolves from the state’s small and recovering wolf population,” said Amaroq Weiss, the Center’s West Coast wolf advocate. “Washingtonians overwhelmingly want wolves recovered, and current science says that killing wolves to prevent conflict is counterproductive. This isn’t the Old West anymore.”

The Department of Fish and Wildlife says members of the Togo pack have preyed on cattle three times in the past 30 days, and six times in the past 10 months.

In the most recent depredation, state officials say one or more wolves were responsible for injuring a calf on a federal grazing allotment in Ferry County.

The department said it will use humane hunting methods, with likely options including shooting from a helicopter, trapping, and shooting from the ground.

The wolf hunts have sparked controversy in the past, with environmental groups saying the state is too quick to kill wolves.

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