What’s believed to have been the breeding female of a Northeast Washington wolf pack was shot and killed earlier this spring and a reward of up to $7,500 is on offer for information on the case.
WDFW reported the death of the Wedge Pack adult yesterday in its monthly wolf report for May, stating that biologists and game wardens found it on the 26th after responding to a report of a dead wolf in the area of Sheep Creek, in far northern Stevens County.
“The investigation revealed the female wolf died as a result of a gunshot wound,” the agency reported.
It wasn’t clear what impact the mortality would have on any litter of pups it might have had, according to the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
The Wedge is an area between the Columbia and Kettle Rivers and Canadian border that has seen chronic wolf depredations of livestock over the years and last August WDFW said it had lethally removed the “two known remaining members” of the local pack.
That new wolves apparently moved in is unsurprising given the habitat and forage there.
Anyone with information is asked to contact WDFW at (360) 902-2928, report it online at the agency’s violations page, or text WDFWTIP to 847411. The reward money comes from Conservation Northwest for info that leads to a conviction.
According to a WDFW spokeswoman paraphrased in the Spokesman-Review, the female is the 12th wolf known to have been poached in Washington since 2010, but convictions have been few and far between.
In 2016, a Whitman County man who pursued a wolf by vehicle over several miles near his farm before shooting and killing it was fined $100, while a Spokane County man who killed two in Pend Oreille County was fined nearly $8,300 by a local court in early 2018.
It’s also the third known Washington wolf death of the year. A Huckleberry Pack wolf was found dead near Sprague in February and a second was hit in March by a vehicle between Kettle Falls and Colville.
In Oregon, five wolves were found dead north of La Grande in early February. Little information has been made available except that the carcasses were taken to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service forensics lab in Ashland to determine cause of death. “The investigation is ongoing,” said a state police spokesman this morning.