Monthly Wolf Report -- March 2018

Publish date

This report provides information about wolf conservation and management activities undertaken by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) from Jan. 30 to Feb. 27, 2018.

Statewide Wolf Capture, Survey, and Management

2017 annual wolf report

Early in the month, wolf biologists finished some annual track surveys in various areas around the state, assessing minimum numbers of wolves in known pack territories. Wolf specialist Maletzke presented the minimum count and a number of other summary statistics related to the status of wolves to the Fish and Wildlife Commission on March 17, 2018. Wolf biologists also spent time writing and editing the 2017 annual wolf report, which is due to be released on March 30, 2018.

The state was home to at least 122 wolves, 22 packs, and 14 successful breeding pairs in 2017, based on field surveys conducted over the winter by state, tribal, and federal wildlife managers. The full 2017 annual wolf report can be found on the WDFW website here.

Wolf Internal Group and Wolf Advisory Group meetings

Wolf biologists attended the wolf internal group (WDFW staff members) and wolf advisory group (WDFW staff members and external stakeholders) meetings to discuss topics on wolf conservation and management in Washington.

Inter-state wolf discussions

WDFW's carnivore section manager and the statewide wolf specialist are attending a meeting at the end of the month with wolf managers from other northwest states and jurisdictions to discuss similarities and differences in their approaches to wolf management.

Wolf packs in Kittitas County

Collar data shows the Teanaway wolf pack in normal areas for this time of year. There was one reported incident of domestic dogs trying to engage wolves in the pack territory. No injuries to domestic pets or wolves were reported or suspected, and collar data shows the wolves moving away from that area.

Legislative updates

  • One-time funding of $183,000 from the state general fund was provided for WDFW to implement Engrossed Substitute House Bill 2771, which calls for conducting an Environmental Impact Statement for the translocation of wolves. In addition:

  • One-time funding ($100,000 GFS) was provided to WDFW for the implementation of nonlethal deterrence measures in Fiscal Year 2019. In addition:

  • One-time funding ($80,000 GF-S) was granted for the Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to work with the Sheriff's Departments of Ferry County and Stevens County in cooperation with the WDFW on wolf management activities.

  • Funding ($172,000 GF-S) was provided to the University of Washington to conduct a three-year study of wolf use and density in the South Cascades, as well as the impact of wolf recolonization on the predator-prey dynamics of species previously inhabiting the area.

More information on these legislative items can be found here.

Proactive Deterrence Measures

Wolf packs in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

District wildlife conflict personnel continued meeting with livestock producers, range riders contracted with WDFW, non-government organizations, and a conservation resource management group to discuss upcoming plans for late spring and summer. District staff members and WDFW-contracted range riders also worked with landowners on calving operations. Increases in human presence and deployment of foxlights were used in areas that wolves were frequenting near calving operations (Leadpoint, Sherman, Smackout, Stranger, and Togo).

Depredation Investigations

Wolf packs in Ferry, Stevens, and Pend Oreille counties

On March 17, WDFW staff members investigated a report of a dead cow and calf in Stevens County. The investigation determined it was an Unknown Cause of Death due to the lack of predator signatures on the carcasses. However, coyote tracks were identified in the area.

On March 20, WDFW staff members met with a livestock producer in Pend Oreille County who had two young calves go missing within a week. After a field search that lasted several hours, the calves were not discovered. One set of cougar tracks was noted in the general area.

Packs
Smackout