Source: Google News
COLVILLE, WA – For the past eleven months, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police have been investigating six wolf deaths within the Wedge Pack territory in Stevens County, near Colville in northeast Washington state. Toxicology results revealed all six wolves died from ingesting poison.
Initially, investigators found four animals in late February, and within a month during searches of the area, WDFW found two additional wolves.
The investigation remains active, and officials are looking for anyone who might have relevant information that may lead to finding those responsible. Nine organizations are also offering rewards, currently totaling $53,900, for information that leads to a conviction in the case of the poisoning of the wolves:
- Center for Biological Diversity
- Conservation Northwest
- Defenders of Wildlife
- Humane Society of the United States
- Kettle Range Conservation Group
- Northwest Animal Rights Network
- Sierra Club – Washington Chapter
- Washington Wildlife First
- Western Watersheds Project
Gray wolves are listed as endangered under state law. In the western two-thirds of the state, they are also listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act. Under state law, the illegal killing of a wolf or other endangered fish or wildlife species is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
The year-end minimum population count for Washington in 2021 was at least 206 known wolves in 33 known packs including at least 19 breeding pairs. Annual wolf population surveys are conducted in the winter because wolf populations experience the least amount of natural fluctuation during this time. Counting the population at the end of each year allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year when the wolf population is most stable. The year-end minimum population count for 2022 will be released in April 2023.