What could be the first wolf captured in Western Washington is now being monitored by wildlife managers.
The 100-pound animal was collared Thursday, June 8, in eastern Skagit County near Marblemount and released.
The news was broken by the Skagit Valley Herald.
“We did capture what appears to be a 2- to 3-year-old male gray wolf,” confirms U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ann Froschauer late this afternoon.
She says blood and saliva were taken from the animal and sent to the agency’s forensic lab for testing, confirmation that it’s a full-blooded wolf and to determine where it might have come from.
While at least four collared wolves have briefly wandered into Western Washington in recent years (one of which didn’t make it back out after being hit on I-90), this would be the first to have been captured, outfitted with telemetry and released west of the Cascades.
Froschauer says its movements are being monitored via GPS collar to “see if it sticks around or wanders off.”
USFWS and WDFW were drawn to the location in mid-May after a resident reported three chickens killed by a wolf and had solid photos to back it up.
Initially there were suggestions that a pack might be in the area, based on howling, but that’s less certain now.
“We did hang some cameras out. We did not see any other animals. As of right now there’s at least one that appears to be a wolf,” Froschauer says.
Grand scheme, a single wolf doesn’t do much for state recovery goals, but it has the potential to bring issues from the 509 much closer to Western Washington.
USFWS has management authority over wolves in the western two-thirds of the state, where the species remains federally listed.
WDFW had no comment.
WDFW also has had no comment about two dead calves found in the Kettle Range two days ago and which were investigated yesterday.
And WDFW probably doesn’t want to comment on the latest from Washington State University, where a professor plans to sue over alleged free speech violations involving wolves.