Washington Wolf Population Into Triple Digits

Washington’s wolf population reached triple digits in 2016, state managers will report later this week.

They say that the year-end count found a minimum of 115 animals, up from 90 at the end of 2015.

A GRAPH BUILDING ON WDFW’S 2015 YEAR-END WOLF COUNT SHOWS HOW THE 2016 YEAR-END COUNT OF 115 STACKS UP AGAINST PAST YEARS. (WDFW/NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN)

That’s despite the lethal removal of seven members of the Profanity Peak Pack in northern Ferry County, and continues an unbroken trend since confirmation of Washington’s first pack in modern times in 2008.

A WDFW STAFFER’S PHOTO OF THEIR BOOT BESIDE WOLF TRACKS IN THE SNOW EARLIER THIS WINTER IN ASOTIN COUNTY. (WDFW)

The Evergreen State reached the inconsequential but notable mark a year after the Beaver State’s wolves hit three figures. Earlier this winter, in confirming at least seven breeding pairs for three straight years there, Oregon managers moved into a new management phase for wolves in the eastern third of the state.

Washington’s wolf plan has higher bars to meet management changes.

Earlier this winter WDFW launched a predator-prey study in the state’s wolfiest districts, Northeast and North-central Washington, as part of a five-year study to better determine the effect wolf recolonization is having on populations of prey and predator and across a variety of landscapes.

The 2016 count comes from a document prepared for a teleconference scheduled for tomorrow with WDFW’s Wolf Advisory Group. It speculates the 2017 count could end up between roughly 135 and 165.

More specifics such as pack numbers are expected later this week, when the Fish and Wildlife Commission receives the annual report.

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