Washington State’s fifth wolf pack confirmed in Stevens County

Washington’s fifth gray wolf pack has been confirmed in
northeast Stevens County.

Earlier this month, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
(WDFW) biologists caught, marked with an ear tag and released a
2-month-old wolf pup from the pack. Biologists have since been
trying to capture one of the pack’s breeding adult wolves to
radio-collar it for monitoring. The effort to document the pack
began after local ranchers reported observing three wolf pups and
hearing howling in late June.

The pack is believed to include a breeding-age male and female
and at least three pups. The group has been named the Smackout
Pack, in reference to geographic features in the area.

The Lookout Pack, confirmed in Okanogan and Chelan counties in
2008, was Washington’s first documented resident gray wolf pack
since a breeding population of wolves was extirpated from the state
in the 1930s. Two more packs have been documented in Pend Oreille
County-the Diamond Pack was confirmed in 2009, and the Salmo Pack
was confirmed in 2010.

Last month, the state’s fourth documented pack-dubbed the
Teanaway Pack- was confirmed in Kittitas County. DNA analysis of
that pack’s adult female wolf indicated she is likely a recent
descendant of the Lookout Pack.

The gray wolf (Canis lupus) is protected throughout Washington
as a state endangered species. In the western two-thirds of
Washington, the species is also federally protected under the
Endangered Species Act (ESA). It is illegal to harm or harass a
federal- or state-protected endangered species.

WDFW has been working since 2007 to develop a wolf conservation
and management plan in anticipation of wolves re-entering
Washington from other states or Canada.

A Final EIS/recommended plan-which was developed with a
17-member citizen group and included extensive public review and
scientific peer review-will be presented to the Washington Fish and
Wildlife Commission in a special public meeting Aug. 4 in Olympia.
Additional public workshops on the proposed plan are scheduled
later this summer and in the fall.

“Wolves are re-establishing here on their own,” said Nate
Pamplin, who heads WDFW’s Wildlife Program. “The confirmation of
additional breeding wolf packs moves us closer to achieving a
sustainable population, and also highlights the need to finalize a
state wolf plan that sets recovery targets and management tools to
address livestock and ungulate conflicts.”

For more information on the draft plan and all Washington wolf
packs, click here.

Wolf sightings or activity should be reported through the joint
federal-state toll-free wolf reporting hotline at 1(888) 584-9038.
Joint federal-state Wolf Response Guidelines, including agency
staff contact information, are available here.

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