WDFW Reports New Wolf Pup

WDFW today reports on the capture and radio-collaring of a wolf pup recently in extreme northern Pend Oreille County, and says it may be proof of a third breeding pack in the state.

The 50-pound pup, along with images captured on a remote camera, indicate the presence of a pack, says the agency’s Harriet Allen.

However, it’s unclear if this new pup was born in Washington or British Columbia. Efforts are under way to locate the pup’s parents and WDFW plans to monitor the area next spring to figure out the pack’s denning location.

“If the den is in Washington, the pack can be considered a Washington pack; if the den is in British Columbia, it is a Canadian pack,” Allen said in a press release. “Our Canadian colleagues are aware of wolf activity in that area, and will assist with monitoring on their side of the border.”

It would be the second in Pend Oreille County where the Diamond Pack has had litters this spring and last year. It moves back and forth between Washington and Idaho.

Her agency continues to say that there could be a pack on Washington’s side of the Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness, shared with Oregon, WDFW says; a researcher recently collared a young wolf south of the state line.

But the status of the Lookout Pack, the state’s first documented in 70 years, remains uncertain after the alpha female went missing earlier this year. Its radio-collar could have ceased functioning, but speaking with the wildlife biologist for the area a couple weeks ago, he felt it was likely the wolf was dead.

WDFW is also looking into a trail-cam shot of an apparent wolf near Tonasket, taken earlier this summer.

“We know from reports that individual wolves have been roaming in and out of the state in various locations for years,” Allen said in the press release, “but documenting and maintaining packs as successful breeding pairs is necessary achieve conservation objectives and move toward eventual removal of the gray wolf from state and federal endangered-species lists.”

Meanwhile, WDFW continues to sift through some 60,000 comments on its draft wolf management plan before bringing an update to its 17-member Wolf Working Group.

“The volume of input on that plan was so massive, our staff in Olympia is still looking at it and categorizing it,” says Madonna Luehrs, a spokeswoman in Spokane.

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