According to a recently released annual statewide survey by the Department of Fish and Wildlife, Washington’s gray wolf population increased for the ninth consecutive year. Much of those increases continue to be primarily in the northeastern part of the state.
In the report released last Friday, the state’s wolf population at the end of 2017 was around 122, including 22 packs and 14 successful breading pairs. That compares with a minimum of 115 wolves, 20 packs and 10 breeding pairs reported at the end of 2016. Ben Maletzke, Fish and Wildlife wolf specialist says the 2017 totals are the highest recorded since the state documented an established wolf pack in the state and annual surveys were begun in 2008. The State’s wolf population has grown by an annual average of 31-percent over the past decade.
According to the 2017 survey, 15 of the 22 known packs range in Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties in the northeast corner of the state. There has been recent confirmation of at least one wolf in Western Washington but wolf packs have not yet become established in the North and South Cascades even though quality habitat is available in those areas.