Sunday, 8 July 2012

7th wolf pack confirmed in Washington State

Potentially 12 wolf packs now exist - More than 15 pairs will remove their protection
July 2012. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has confirmed another wolf pack and a wolf attack on sheep in northeast Washington. Using remote video cameras, biologists documented at least five gray wolf pups this week in southern Stevens County, east of the town of Fruitland and north of the Spokane Indian Reservation. In reference to nearby Huckleberry Mountain, the pack has been named the Huckleberry pack. 

Potentially 12 packs

The new pack is Washington's seventh confirmed wolf pack, including the recently documented Nc'icn pack on the Colville Confederated Tribes reservation. An additional five packs are also suspected in the state.


Sheep kill
At about the same time the new wolf pack was documented, WDFW investigated an attack on domestic sheep in northwestern Spokane County, near Nine Mile Falls. Based on evidence at the scene, including wolf tracks and the trauma to the carcass, state wildlife officials confirmed that the attack was from a wolf. WDFW officials are working with the livestock producer on compensation for the sheep.
Wolf management plan
Washington's new wolf management plan, adopted last December, includes provisions to compensate ranchers who lose livestock to wolf predation, said Steve Pozzanghera, a regional WDFW director and wolf policy lead. In confirmed wolf depredation cases, livestock owners can be compensated for the full market value of lost animals.
"The primary goal of the new management plan is to protect gray wolves as they naturally re-establish themselves in Washington," Pozzanghera said. "But the plan also provides for compensation when landowners lose livestock to wolf depredation."
Listed as endangered
Wolves are currently listed by the state as endangered throughout Washington. The species remains federally listed as endangered in the western two-thirds of the state. The state's management plan calls for removing listed status protection for gray wolves when a total of 15 successful breeding pairs are sustained in three defined areas of the state for three consecutive years. The state can also delist wolves if a total of 18 successful breeding pairs are confirmed in those areas at any point in time.

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