Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Intensive human settlement, loss of habitat, conflicts with domestic livestock, lack of understanding of the wolf's ecology and habits, and superstition have had a major impact on the decline of the wolf and on its recovery.
Since 1990, wolf denning has been documented in Washington, and wolves occurring there are no longer considered transients from British Columbia. The Interagency Gray Wolf Steering Committee, comprised of representatives from State and Federal conservation and land management agencies, is facilitating wolf conservation and management. To help control wolf depredations on livestock, the Fish and Wildlife Service has entered into a cooperative agreement with the Department of Agriculture's Animal Damage Control program, and a trapping permit has been issued. An interagency network of biologists has been established to investigate sightings and conduct surveys. A toll-free telephone number has been established to take calls from the public about wolf sightings, and dozens of sightings have been reported.
Numerous section 7 consultations have been completed on projects involving mining, logging, grazing, and road management. Conservation recommendations resulting from these consultations have focused on reducing road densities and maintaining an ungulate prey base for wolves.
A primary goal for the near future is completion of a recovery plan for the gray wolf in Washington. Continued intensive monitoring is also needed to gain information for managing and conserving the wolf.
In both FY 1991 and FY 1992, the State of Washington received $135,000, primarily to conduct surveys and to gather the information necessary to develop a recovery plan and begin recovery activities.
Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and Bureau of Indian Affairs: These Federal agencies, along with the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture, are taking an active role in wolf recovery and have representatives serving on the Interagency Gray Wolf Steering Committee. The wolf recovery plan for Washington, now under development, will detail any further responsibilities the agencies may have.
Department of Agriculture: The Department's Animal Damage Control program has signed a cooperative agreement with the Fish and Wildlife Service to help in the control of wolves that may feed on livestock. The Animal Damage Control program has also been issued a permit to trap problem wolves in Washington.
Washington Department of Wildlife: This State agency is conducting several major programs for the wolf, including surveys, collection of population and habitat use data, and education and information programs. Further responsibilities for this agency will be detailed in the recovery plan.
Wolf Haven, Washington Wool Growers Association, and Greater Ecosystems Alliance: These private groups have volunteered to assist in recovering the gray wolf in Washington. Thus far, private sector responsibilities have centered on information and education programs and input to the Interagency Gray Wolf Steering Committee. Wolf Haven and the Washington Wool Growers Association each have representatives serving on that committee. Greater Ecosystems Alliance held a symposium on wolf recovery in Seattle in early 1992.
Plan under development.