State says Washington’s wolf inhabitants grew 16% final yr | Govt. & Politics

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Washington’s wolf inhabitants grew in 2021 for the thirteenth consecutive yr, displaying a 16% improve from the earlier yr, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife stated Saturday.

As of Dec. 31, 2021, the division stated there have been 206 wolves in 33 packs in Washington. Nineteen of those have been profitable breeding pairs. This is up from 178 wolves in 29 packs and 16 breeding pairs within the 2020 rely.

“Washington’s wolves continue to progress toward recovery, with four new packs documented in four different counties of the state in 2021,” Fish and Wildlife Director Kelly Susewind stated in a information launch.

This is a minimal rely, so the precise variety of wolves in Washington is larger, the company stated. Since the division’s first wolf survey in 2008, the state’s wolf inhabitants has grown by a median of 25% per yr.

Four new packs shaped in 2021, together with the Columbia Pack in Columbia County, the Keller Ridge Pack in Ferry County, the Dominion Pack in Stevens County, and the Shady Pass Pack in Chelan County. The Naneum Pack was not positioned in the course of the survey and was faraway from the tally, the company stated.

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Wolves have been worn out in Washington within the early many years of the final century. But the animals started to maneuver again into the state earlier this century from Canada and Idaho. The return of the animals has sparked quite a few conflicts with ranchers, particularly in northeastern Washington state the place many of the wolves reside.

Eight of the wolf packs have been concerned in identified livestock depredations final yr, the company stated. Six of the eight have been concerned in two or fewer occasions every.

As a results of depredations, two wolves from the Columbia Pack have been killed in 2021, one by the division and one by a landowner with a allow to lethally take away a wolf, the company stated.

“Although wolf-livestock interactions have remained consistent, we recorded the lowest number of livestock depredation incidents in the state since 2017 and removed the fewest wolves in response to conflict since 2015,” stated the division’s wolf coverage lead, Julia Smith.

“We’re dedicated to selling the proactive use of non-lethal deterrents to attenuate wolf-livestock battle,” Smith said.

Since 1980, gray wolves have been listed under state law as endangered throughout Washington.

In January 2021, wolves were delisted from federal Endangered Species Act protection and the department resumed statewide management of the species. But this February, wolves were federally relisted in the western two-thirds of the state and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service once again took the lead role in their recovery in those areas.

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