Elk NetworkWashington Wolf Population Continues to Grow

General | April 9, 2019

For the 10th year in a row, the wolf population in the state of Washington continues to grow. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reports there were a minimum of 126 wolves, 27 packs and 15 successful breeding pairs within the state’s borders in 2018.

“Wolves routinely face threats to their survival – from humans, other animals, and nature itself,” said Ben Maletzke, WDFW statewide wolf specialist. “But despite each year’s ups and downs, the population in Washington has grown steadily and probably will keep increasing by expanding their range in the north and south Cascades of Washington.”

As in past years, the annual count provides estimates of the minimum numbers of wolves in the state, because it is not possible to count every wolf.

Maletzke said five of the 27 packs known to exist in Washington last year were involved in at least one livestock mortality. WDFW investigators confirmed wolves killed at least 11 cattle and one sheep and injured another 19 cattle and two sheep. WDFW processed five livestock damage claims totaling $7,536 to compensate producers for direct wolf-caused livestock losses and one indirect claim for $5,950, which compensates the producer for reduced weight gains and other factors associated with wolf-livestock interaction.

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(Photo source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)