Judge issues emergency order blocking state from hunting wolf pack

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A judge in Olympia has granted an emergency order blocking the state from hunting members of a wolf pack to prevent them from preying on cattle.

The Thurston County Superior Court judge on Monday afternoon granted an emergency request from two environmental groups to prevent the destruction of the Togo wolf pack, which is located in Ferry County in northeast Washington state near the Canadian order. A court date on a request for a preliminary injunction was set for Aug. 31

The order was sought by the Center for Biological Diversity and Cascadia Wildlands.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife had announced Monday morning it would begin killing members of the wolf pack for preying on cattle 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 says 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.