A new wolf pack in Washington
"The wolf’s return to the Cascades is an important milestone for restoring the wildlife heritage of these wild mountains: Wolves play an important role in maintaining a balance of predator and prey that has a trickle down benefit for all shorts of wildlife from eagles to bears," said Mitch Friedman of Conservation Northwest.
This photo helped confirm the Teanaway wolf pack in the Cascade Mountains. (Photo courtesy of Conservation Northwest).
Washington state has its fourth wolf pack, and canis lupus has returned to put down roots in a second locale in the Cascade Range.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife on Monday announced existence of the Teanaway Pack, its status confirmed by remote cameras showing multiple animals in one shot.
The news about the Teanaway Pack comes amidst indication that the Lookout Pack — located in the upper Methow Valley — has been severely reduced by poaching with only two animals remaining.
An alleged human being in the Methow even tried to ship a bloody pelt via Federal Express. A federal grand jury in Spokane recently indicted three valley residents from one family for violations of federal wildlife protection laws, including killing as many as five endangered wolves.
The wolves show taste in their latest choice of habitat. The Teanaway River is located north and east of Cle Elum: Its lower reaches have been heavily logged. But its West Fork remains wild, and the North Fork leads to popular hikes into high lakes of the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area.
Since its habitat is west of U.S. 97, the Teanaway Pack will enjoy protection both under state law and the Federal Endangered Species Act. Last spring, Congress pulled federal protection from wolves in Montana, Idaho and Eastern Washington.
The state’s two remaining wolf packs, the Salmo and Diamond packs, live in the wilds of the southern Selkirk Range in northeast Washington near the three-way border of Washington, Idaho and British Columbia.
The Teanaway Pack was discovered by volunteers from Conservation Northwest, a Bellingham-based group that has championed grizzly bear recovery, return of wolves, and protection of the lynx in the Washington Cascades. The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife later confirmed its existence with a DNA sample.
“The wolf’s return to the Cascades is an important milestone for restoring the wildlife heritage of these wild mountains: Wolves play an important role in maintaining a balance of predator and prey that has a trickle down benefit for all shorts of wildlife from eagles to bears,” said Mitch Friedman of Conservation Northwest.
Wolves have not been “reintroduced” to the state. They have apparently moved south from British Columbia. One animal was photographed sauntering through a playground in B.C.’s Skagit Valley Recreation Area, just over the border. And a den was discovered on the south flanks of Hozomeen Mountain in the Ross Lake National Recreation Area.
Washington has a known population of about two-dozen wolves. The Burke Museum at the University of Washington has a major exhibit on wolves that runs all summer.