Based on a map from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the numbers of wolf packs continue to increase in Eastern Washington, but ranchers are far from relief as removing protections for the animal depend on the number of breeding pairs, not the number of packs.
Since last year, Eastern Washington has gained as estimated two more wolf packs but WDFW only counts 5 breeding pairs in the entire state. A total of 15 breeding pairs are needed for three years before the state will consider removing protections for the wolves in the eastern third of the state.
However, as WDFW admits, “Wildlife managers emphasize that the actual number of wolves in the state is likely higher than those confirmed by the survey. The survey is not designed to account for every wolf within the state, but rather to monitor the species’ progress toward recovery.”
With that knowledge, SCCA has always advocated that the 15 breeding pair goal is not well suited to determining when wolves are “recovered” in Washington.
For more wolf information from WDFW, click on this link:http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/packs/