Lone Canid Spotted On Tonasket-area Trail Cam

A couple weeks ago, my dad sent me a link that shows a game-camera image of a lone canid sneaking through the brush somewhere in Okanogan County in late July. He’d stumbled onto it on a cabin-building Web site.

I forwarded the shot and link to WDFW and forgot about it until this morning.

The Omak Chronicle has shed some light on the photo.

It’s unclear if it is a lone animal or a cast off from the Lookout wolf pack in the Methow Valley, the paper reports, but it “appears to be stressed.”

The Wenatchee World also reports on it yesterday.

WDFW has since put up trail cams of their own; they also hope to capture it and sample the animal’s DNA. That would determine if it’s a wolf or a wolf-dog hybrid; there’s some suggestion that the animal’s tail-between-the-legs demeanor might mean it’s a hybrid.

However, Scott Fitkin, the state district wildlife biologist, isn’t so sure.

“Looking at the photo, nothing tells me it’s a hybrid,” he says, adding that its coat is similar to members of the Lookout Pack.

He says that the pack’s alpha female is still missing and is probably dead. That would leave one to four yearlings, perhaps one 21/2-year-old and the alpha male, though it’s unclear what the pack is doing.

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3 Responses to “Lone Canid Spotted On Tonasket-area Trail Cam”

  1. WDFW Reports New Wolf Pup « Northwest Sportsman Says:

    […] is also looking into a trail-cam shot of an apparent wolf near Tonasket, taken earlier this […]

  2. Sue Says:

    Nice trail cam pics on that site – but the animal in the photo is definitely a coyote.
    SOURCE: I worked directly with wolves for about 4 years.

    “there’s some suggestion that the animal’s tail-between-the-legs demeanor might mean it’s a hybrid.”
    I don’t know who said that, but it’s an unscientific statement – any wolf, coyote, dog or hybrid may hold its tail that way when it’s unsure of itself or mildly alarmed.

    • Andy Walgamott Says:

      Hi, Sue, thanks for taking a look at the image. I was pretty careful what to call the animal when I wrote that article. I also just spoke with one of the wildlife biologists for that area about this. He says he’s not ready to call it a wolf, but he’s also not not calling it a wolf. There is no DNA evidence about what it is, he points out, BUT he does say there is a second piece of this puzzle, a video shot in the area by a resident. He’s pretty sure that the animal that’s in the video and the one in that trail cam pic are one and the same, based on how it’s holding its tail in both, and he can say that it’s “definitely not a coyote.” This isn’t to discount your personal observations, of course. As for why it’s holding its tail like it is, “that’s the million-dollar question,” he says. Who knows.

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