Wolf Pup In Northeast Washington Indicates State’s Third Breeding Pack

Wolf Pup In Northeast Washington May Indicate State's Third Breeding Pack

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Washington –-(Ammoland.com)- A gray wolf pup recently trapped and radio-collared near the Canadian border in northeast Washington indicates the state may be home to a third breeding wolf pack.

A wolf specialist hired by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) caught the 50-pound young wolf earlier this month in northern Pend Oreille County, just south of the Canadian border. Attempts are under way to locate and radio-collar adult wolves in the area.

The presence of the pup, and photos of other wolves captured on a remote camera in the area, indicate there is a pack in the area, said Harriet Allen, who heads WDFW’s endangered-species section.

“We don’t know at this point whether the den where the pup was born was in Washington or British Columbia,” Allen said.

“We plan to monitor the pack next spring to determine the den location. If the den is in Washington, the pack can be considered a Washington pack; if the den is in British Columbia, it is a Canadian pack. Our Canadian colleagues are aware of wolf activity in that area, and will assist with monitoring on their side of the border.”

A successful breeding wolf pack is documented by locating a breeding pair of adults with two or more pups that survive until Dec. 31, Allen said.

Washington’s first documented wolf pack was found in July 2008 in western Okanogan County. By December 2009 that pack, named the “Lookout Pack,” included seven animals-two adults, a 2-year-old wolf and four pups born in 2009.

“The status of the Lookout Pack is uncertain at this time,” Allen said, adding that WDFW has been unable to locate the female wolf since mid-May. The male is still being monitored and no new pups have been found.

Gray Wolf
Gray Wolf - Canis lupus Photo by Gary Kramer, USFWS

Washington’s second documented wolf pack was found in July 2009 farther south in Pend Oreille County. Two adult wolves in that pack produced six pups in 2009 and six this year. At least four of the pups born in 2009 survived until the end of the year. The pack moves between Washington and Idaho.

Allen said there also may be a wolf pack in the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness Area of the Umatilla National Forest in southeast Washington, although wolves have not yet been confirmed there. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife radio-collared a yearling wolf south of the area in Oregon earlier this year.

“We know from reports that individual wolves have been roaming in and out of the state in various locations for years,” Allen said, “but documenting and maintaining packs as successful breeding pairs is necessary achieve conservation objectives and move toward eventual removal of the gray wolf from state and federal endangered-species lists.”

The gray wolf (Canis lupus) was eliminated from Washington as a reproducing species by the 1930s as a result of trapping, shooting and poisoning, and later was listed for both federal and state protection as an endangered species.

Gray wolf populations in nearby Idaho, Montana and Wyoming have rebounded in recent years as a result of federal recovery efforts in the northern Rocky Mountains. In 2009 gray wolves were removed from the federal endangered-species list in those areas and the eastern third of Washington, but earlier this year a court decision returned them to federal endangered status.

Since 2007, WDFW has been drafting a gray wolf conservation and management plan with a 17-member citizen working group composed of ranchers, hunters, conservationists and others. Public review and scientific peer review of the draft environmental impact statement and plan was conducted last year and earlier this year. WDFW is currently addressing the public and scientific comments on the draft plan, to develop a second draft for review with the working group. A final Environmental Impact Statement and recommended plan is scheduled to be presented to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission for review next year.

  • More information about wolves and the WDFW plan process is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/ .
  • Reports of possible wolf sighting or activity can be made through a toll-free wolf reporting hotline at 1-888-584-9038.

Those with concerns about possible wolf-caused livestock depredation should contact the USDA Wildlife Services office in Olympia at (360) 753-9884 or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service office in Wenatchee at (509) 665-3508.

  • 5 thoughts on “Wolf Pup In Northeast Washington Indicates State’s Third Breeding Pack

    1. @Reality22

      "costing the taxpayers millions of dollars…"

      The USDA's "Wildlife Services" department spends over 10 million dollars each year killing approximately 100,000 predators in Western states. This continues despite the fact that it has been shown that coyotes, at least, will actually INCREASE their breeding rate under this form of pressure – breeding 2 – 3 times per year rather than once.

      This expensive program is a bone thrown to ranchers even though it is not effective. Politicians want to be able to show that they are "fighting for the concerns of their constituents."

      A "waste of money" is only a waste to those people who don't want the outcome. There are a lot of people who believe wolves and other animals have a right to live, and for them the $10 million would be better spent on wildlife conservation, whereas to you it would be a "waste of money" to use it in that way. We live in a democracy with a wide variety of people, so our government will always use its left hand to kill predators and the right to save them.

    2. Can't we simply say, "this is my opinion" instead of using inflammatory language and claiming truth, regardless of facts. Just because you say something doesn't make it true. It is not true that "sportsmen and farmers…are in the minority" nor is it true that "true wolf lovers (do x or y)." Can we give up some of the melodrama and actually have a constructive conversation?

    3. Chris, What a crock of bull….. Your wildlife fantasies are costing the taxpayers millions of dollars. The wolf will never follow your the script you have for them. The Farm, Rancher & Sportsman will not allow the non-endangered non-threatened high maintenance gray wolf to overrun the landscape. You do not sound like a wolf lover to me……… I see that people are turning on this animal big time & it's because of people like Chris want this non-endangered, non-threatened, high maintenance killer in everyone's back yard! The true wolf lovers recognize that this animal does not live well around humans… he recognizes that the gray wolf has enormous areas of good habitat (northern Canada, North Eastern Minnesota, and parts of Alaska), the true wolf lover understands that Yellowstone National park is just marginal habitat , yet a place where sportsman & ranchers have want and allowed wolves…. The true wolf lover understands that the money being spent on this animal to put it back into marginal and poor habitat would be better spent preserving good habitat! The true wolf lover recognizes that the current state of affairs is more about anti-hunting and anti-ranching then about wolves!

    4. Sportsmen and farmers aren't the only folks whose opinions matter Reality 22. These animals were here long before sportsmen and farmers were. They have a right to exist (just like sportsmen and famers). All of the animals that live here need to learn to get along with each other (the planet belongs to all animals). Wolves did that (got along with all of the other animals that share this planet) until the sportmen and farmers showed up. Then guess what happened? The sportsmen and farmers killed all of the Wolves. The rest of the people on this planet aren't going to let that mistake be made again. You (the sportsmen and the farmers) are now in the minority so please learn to get along instead of killing everything that you don't approve of. It's not your planet (or your animals) to do with as you please.

    5. This will almost certainly be mute….more tax dollars down the drain. Law suites are certain to follow and once again derail management. What is needed is a change to the ESA. This has gone on long enough …. Fish and Game / DNR have let down the sportsman and farmer!

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