Word this afternoon that federal agents are investigating the death of a collared wolf in Central Washington’s Teanaway Pack territory
WDFW reports that it assisted the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in recovering the carcass of a female on Tuesday, Oct. 28.
“The cause of death is under investigation by the USFWS,” the agency’s Nate Pamplin said.
A USFWS spokesman had no further information.
Earlier this fall, Pamplin reported that the Teanaway Pack was one of eight in Washington with active radio collars.
The wolves run northeast of Cle Elum, in that part of Washington where they’re still federally listed under the Endangered Species Act. The latest WDFW Wildlife Program report, for the week of Oct. 20-26 and out this morning, noted:
Wolf locations were monitored this week. Data indicates that the wolves have ventured north into or adjacent to Wilderness Areas, similar to the pattern from last year. However, no data has been seen for the past three days.
Sheep are still located near Cle Elum Ridge, the RAG box is in place, and fladry has been located between potential wolf access areas to the sheep grazing and bedding areas.”
A recent article in a local paper made it seem as if everything was easy-sneezy between the sheep flock and the pack this season, but a lot of work has been going into keeping the pups and herd separated, according to previous program updates.
Two other members of the pack have been collared in the past. One wandered north into Canada and was shot in a pig sty in 2012; the other, a pup, was killed by a predator, most likely a cougar, in 2013.
It’s also possible that the collared wolf came from elsewhere and subsequently died of yet-to-be-determined causes in the Teanaway range.
Or if it was the lactating wolf WDFW collared in 2011, it could have died of old age — five is the average lifespan of one in the Northern Rockies — but one wolf advocacy group was suspicious because of the proximity to deer and elk seasons.
Collar data is a key component in efforts that have minimized livestock losses in the Teanaway and east-central Stevens County.
In another investigation elsewhere in Washington, DNA results still have yet to come back on an animal shot on the Palouse in mid-October, according to Pamplin.