Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife confirmed last week that a new pack of gray wolves are living near Teanaway River north of Cle Elum, about 90 miles east of Seattle. The Teanaway Pack is the first pack to return to Kittitas County since wolves were exterminated over 50 years ago.
DNA tests confirmed that a trapped wolf near the Teanaway River is a lactating female, indicating she recently gave birth. Additional DNA test will help explain where the wolves came from (British Columbia or the Rocky Mountains), but the number of wolves in the Teanaway pack is still unknown.
Regardless of where the Washington wolves originated, they re-established themselves; they were not reintroduced by federal agencies as they were in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. It will be interesting to see if this fact makes a difference in local perceptions of wolves and their management in Washington, relative to other western states.
The Teanaway confirmation has occurred as Washington State finalizes its wolf management plan. Currently, wolves in the western 1/3 of the state remain on the Federal Endangered Species List, while the western 2/3 remain on the State Endangered Species List.
See a map of current Washington wolf pack locations.