2020 annual count shows Washington’s wolf population grew by 24 percent
Conservation Northwest / Apr 27, 2021 / News Releases, Range Riding, Wolves
Minimum of 178 wolves counted in at least 29 packs and 16 successful breeding pairs statewide
On Friday, April 23, 2021, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) reported a minimum of 178 wolves, including at least 29 packs and 16 successful breeding pairs statewide. This end of 2020 annual count shows Washington’s wolf population grew by 24 percent last year!
“We’re pleased to see healthy growth of Washington’s wolf population, and especially the continued increase in the number of breeding pairs,” said Paula Swedeen, Ph.D., our Policy Director and Wolf Advisory Group representative. “The state achieved a new milestone in 2020 by having four breeding pairs in the North Cascades recovery region for the first time, including a new pack near Lake Chelan.”
“It’s good news in terms of the number of breeding pairs, which is what’s going to get us to recovery and to a population that is geographically more diverse than it is now,” our Wolf Program Lead Jay Shepherd, Ph.D., told The Spokesman Review. “They are starting to spread and that’s good. And I think that reproduction in the Okanogan is important. That’s what’s going to work.”
“While we continue to be anxious for wolf packs to become established in the South Cascades and Coast region, it’s apparent from this year’s report that wolves are still filling in available habitat in the northeast and northcentral parts of Washington state, with four new packs and the fact that the Wedge area is already reoccupied by a new pack,” said Swedeen.
“We also count it as a success that few wolves [three] were lethally removed last year, and that range riders from Conservation Northwest, the Northeast Washington Wolf Cattle Collaborative and WDFW contributed to halting depredations on livestock in Togo Pack territory, as well as prevented conflict in a number of other wolf territories across northeast Washington”