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Call of the wild: wolves and grizzlies in Washington state

By Editorial board
Seattle Times

Editorial from The Times: A new gray wolf pack and a rare grizzly bear, oh my. State biologists said this week that a new pack of gray wolves is living in our state in Kittitas County...

Call of the wild: wolves and grizzlies in Washington state

Teanaway wolf. Western Transportation Institute photo

GLORIOUS summertime in the Northwest is the perfect time to learn more about who is doing what in the natural environment, much of it not far from the hustle and bustle of the Seattle metropolitan area.

A new gray wolf pack and a rare grizzly bear, oh my.

State biologists said this week that a new pack of gray wolves is living in our state, not far from Cle Elum. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife recently trapped a female gray wolf near the Teanaway River. Biologists believe the wolf recently gave birth to pups because she had been lactating.

Certainly, individual wolves have frequented the area for a while. But The Seattle Times' Craig Welch reports that this is the first documented evidence that an entire pack returned to Kittitas County since wolves were exterminated in the first half of the 20th century. And perhaps more amazing, the pack is located within 100 miles of the state's largest city.

The new wolf group, the Teanaway Pack, is believed to be the fourth wolf pack in the state.

Hunters and residents near the Teanaway River had been talking about wolves for some time. Finally, biologists, following a few leads, traveled into the woods, followed tracks and scat, and captured the female wolf.

The other big find actually occurred last fall when Joe Sebille, hiking in a remote area of the North Cascades, managed to snap a breathtaking photo of what looked like a grizzly bear. On closer inspection, scientists determined it indeed was a grizzly bear. Biologists say this is the first photo of a live grizzly in the North Cascades in roughly half a century.

Grizzlies in the North Cascades are protected under the Endangered Species Act but have been so elusive that experts thought they may have left the state. Every summer, there are random and unproven grizzly sightings in the North Cascades.

Solid evidence of an important gray wolf pack about 100 miles from Seattle and a confirmed photo of a rare griz in the North Cascades — cool.

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