A new wolf pack near the towns of Twisp and Omak has been confirmed by wildlife agencies. The new pack has been named the Loup Loup Pack, referencing a prominent place within the pack’s range in the Methow Valley.
Following up on a number of public wolf sightings in north-central Washington, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, working in coordination with U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, identified a group of wolves previously undocumented in the area. Further investigation, including ground surveys, confirmed the presence and consistent use of the area by multiple wolves, according to a new release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
17 The number of confirmed wolf packs in Washington.
The state department and its partner agencies will monitor the new pack during the winter and will attempt to capture and fit one of the wolves with a radio collar next summer to help monitor the new pack.
This would be the 17th confirmed wolf pack in the state, according to the state agency. Two other packs have dens just outside the state’s boundaries. At the end of 2014, the state had at leat 68 wolves in 16 packs, according to the state.
The gray wolf is federally listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary agency responsible for managing wolves in the western two-thirds of Washington, including the area where the new pack was confirmed. Wolves are listed statewide as endangered by the state.
By the 1930s, wolves were no longer considered a breeding species in the state, according to the state wildlife department.
Wolves are naturally returning to Washington, coming from bordering states and Canadian provinces. There has been no reintroduction of wolves.
In late 2011, the state Fish and Wildlife Commission approved a wolf conservation and management plan. Almost five years in the making, the plan outlines recovery efforts, as well as what steps can be taken to deal with wolves attacking livestock. In recent years, wolves have been killed or moved to a sanctuary after being connected to livestock attacks. The plan also establishes levels at which wolves could be delisted by the state.
▪ To report sightings or other evidence of wolves in Washington (tracks, scat, howling, and photos/video from motion-sensitive remote cameras), visit wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/reporting/sightings.html or call 877-933-9847.