Washington wolves increased numbers by 24 percent last year

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OLYMPIA — The annual count of Washington’s gray wolf population continued to grow in 2020, with an estimated 178 wolves in 29 packs now ranging across the state.

It’s a 24 percent increase since 2019, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife says. The numbers are what’s called a minimum count, meaning the true number of wolves is likely higher.

Four new wolfpacks formed in 2020, including the Navarre Pack in Okanogan County. Seven packs were known to have preyed on livestock during 2020. Fish and Wildlife killed three wolves in response last year.

Federal wildlife agencies removed Endangered Species Act protections from gray wolves in January. The state continues to manage wolves in Washington as a state endangered species, under the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan adopted in 2011 by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission.