- The gray wolf (Canis lupus), a native species that was nearly extirpated early last century, is returning to Washington on its own, dispersing from populations in other states and provinces.
- The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) developed the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan to recover this species and to address conflicts with livestock and impacts to other wildlife species.
The status of wolf populations is assessed annually in the winter. A final report was provided in March and the number of documented wolf packs increased from 18 to 20 this past year.
WDFW is implementing a Wolf Conservation and Management Plan to ensure the reestablishment of a self-sustaining population of gray wolves in Washington and to encourage social tolerance for the species by addressing and reducing conflicts. Goals of the plan are to :
- Restore the wolf population in Washington to a self-sustaining size and geographic distribution that will result in wolves having a high probability of persisting in the state through the foreseeable future (>50-100 years).
- Manage wolf-livestock conflicts in a way that minimizes livestock losses, while at the same time not negatively impacting the recovery or long-term perpetuation of a sustainable wolf population.
- Maintain healthy and robust ungulate populations in the state that provide abundant prey for wolves and other predators as well as ample harvest opportunities for hunters.
- Develop public understanding of the conservation and management needs of wolves in Washington, thereby promoting the public’s coexistence with the species.
If you are interested in learning more about the recovery of wolves in Washington, please go to the WDFW website at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/.
At this website, you can report wolf sightings, sign up for email notices, and learn more about the current status of the wolf packs within Washington.