State wildlife managers say a new wolf pack — called the Sherman Pack — has formed after splitting from a north central Washington pack.
According to the Spokesman Review, state wolf program manager Danny Martorello said the pack roams around Sherman Pass in Ferry County which is north of the Colville Indian Reservation. The newspaper added that at the end of 2015, Washington had at least 90 wolves and eight breeding pairs.
In 2008, there were less than 10 wolves known to the state. According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the minimum count of wolves in the Eastern Washington in 2015 is 77 while the Northern Cascades region has at least 13 wolves. There are no wolves tracked in the Sourthern Cascades and Northwest Coast region.
From 2014 to 2015, the estimated wolf population grew by 32 percent, WDFW reports, with pack sizes now averaging 4.4 wolves per pack. The state also tracked seven wolf mortalities in Washington during the year — including three human caused fatalities, one unknown death and three being legally harvested.
Regular wolf harvest is allowed on Colville Confederated Tribal lands only.
Northeastern Washington has by far the highest concentration of wolves. The Department of Fish and Wildlife shows 14 packs roaming in this corner of the state before the addition of the Sherman Pack. Three packs roam in the Northern Cascades region and one pack roams near the Washington and Oregon border in southeastern Washington.
No wolves were removed through agency control actions in 2015. Fish and Wildlife processed three damage claims and paid out a total of $15,174 to compensate livestock producers for losses caused by wolves. The loss of over five cattle was confirmed in 2012 and 2015 because of wolves. Over 25 sheep were killed by wolves in 2014.
More information on Gray Wolf Conservation and Management can be found on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/
By Brandon Hansen/The Independent Staff