Wolf Interactions With Other Wildlife Species

  • Wolves are expected to inhabit areas with healthy populations of their main ungulate prey -- elk, deer, and moose.
  • These areas already support other wild predators and recreational hunting, so behavioral changes are expected for all species to compete.
  • Elk populations in other states with wolves (ID, MT, WY) have mostly remained stable, although some have declined in a few areas where wolves were one of several mortality factors.
  • Based on other states’ experiences with wolves, Washington might expect 200 wolves to take up to 2,520 elk and 4,180 deer per year (recreational hunters currently average 7,390 elk and 38,100 deer per year.)
  • After wolves are delisted, if research determines wolf predation is a limiting factor for at-risk ungulate populations, non-lethal or lethal control of wolves could be considered.
  • Wolf interactions with other carnivores, like coyotes, may shift some species populations in Washington but probably not significantly.
  • Other wildlife may benefit from wolves, either directly as with scavengers on kills, or indirectly with whole ecosystem responses to wolf presence over time.