Elk NetworkWashington Wolf Population Increases Ninth Straight Year

General | March 20, 2018

Washington’s wolf population continued to grow in 2017 for the ninth straight year, according to the results of an annual survey conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The state was home to at least 122 wolves, 22 packs, and 14 successful breeding pairs, based on field surveys conducted over the winter by state, tribal, and federal wildlife managers.

Survey findings reflect information from aerial surveys, remote cameras, wolf tracks, and signals from radio-collared wolves.

Ben Maletzke, WDFW statewide wolf specialist, said today that all of those totals were the highest recorded since the department began conducting the surveys in 2008. Last year’s survey documented 115 wolves, 20 packs, and 10 breeding pairs.

Maletzke emphasized the surveys represent “minimum counts” of wolves in Washington state, due to the difficulty of accounting for every animal – especially lone wolves without a pack.

“Here and in other states, wolf demographics are highly dynamic from year to year,” Maletzke said. “The real value of these surveys is the information they provide about long-term trends, which show that our state’s wolf population has grown by an annual average of 31 percent over the past decade.”

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