The wolf population in Washington is the highest it’s been since the species disappeared from the Pacific Northwest landscape in the 1930s.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reports a minimum population of 108 wolves in 21 packs while the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation reports a minimum population of 37 wolves in five packs on its land. Together, that marks an 11 percent increase over 2018.
“The population continuing to recover is good news for wolf conservation but it can also bring additional challenges. Last year was particularly tough for wolf-livestock conflict management,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. “We are working with citizens and communities to strike a balance so both livestock producers and wolves can share the landscape and thrive in Washington.”
Since 1980, gray wolves have been listed under state law as endangered throughout Washington. In the western two-thirds of the state, they are classified as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act and are managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. In eastern Washington, WDFW manages the species consistent with the 2011 Wolf Conservation and Management Plan.
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The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation maintains state agencies should manage wolves just as they manage elk, mountain lions, deer, bears and other species of wildlife.
(Photo source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)