Hair samples from one of two marauding dogs trapped and killed last weekend in southern Stevens County is being sent to a California university where it will be sequenced to see if the animal was a wolf hybrid.
That said, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife game warden who assisted local law enforcement in the trapping operation doesn’t believe it was based on its physical appearances, including “really small feet.”
“The face looks a little wolflike, but Pam (Taylor) says there’s no way it’s a wolf,” says WDFW spokeswoman Madonna Luers in Spokane.
Taylor worked with the biologists who caught and collared the alpha male from the Diamond Pack of Pend Oreille County in summer 2009.
Luers says the samples were being sent to the University of California-Los Angeles Conservation Genetics Resource Center, which has developed techniques that can distinguish the DNA of Canis lupus from Canis lupus familiaris, to help quell rumors.
The lab previously confirmed for WDFW that a large canid roadkilled nearby was a wolf and another roadkilled to the south of Lake Roosevelt was a hybrid.
The other animal trapped over the weekend was clearly a dog, Luers says.
“This has nothing to do with wolves. It’s us helping out the local sheriff’s office. We have traps, they don’t,” she said.
With the deaths of those two and one other, shot by a turkey hunter after being charged, the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office says that “the main part” of a pack blamed for the killing of dozens of livestock and pets in the area “has been eliminated.”
The news comes at the same time as fears about wolf impacts on Washington livestock and big game are being heightened and WDFW works on a final draft of its management plan for presentation to the Fish & Wildlife Commission in early August.