Washington state is currently home to 33 known gray wolf packs with a minimum count of 206 wolves statewide.
Until 2021, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife did not include numbers of wolves on the lands of the Colville Confederated Tribes, managed by the tribal wildlife agency, in their annual wolf count. Numbers for wolves managed by both WDFW and the Colville Confederated Tribes were reported together for the 2021 annual winter wolf count.
Definition of a wolf pack in Washington:
Under the state’s Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, a wolf pack is defined as two or more wolves traveling together in winter. A successful breeding pair is defined as an adult male and female with at least two pups that survive until the end of the year. The adults do not have to be the parents of surviving pups.
Gray wolves are native to Washington state. Wolves were almost entirely extirpated from the state by the 1930s. In the 1990s, federal and tribal biologists reintroduced native gray wolves into Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho. Descendants of these wolves, as well as wolves from British Columbia in Canada, have since naturally dispersed back into Washington. In 2008, state wildlife managers documented the first breeding pack in almost 80 years, the Lookout Pack.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reported at least 132 wolves and 24 packs (which includes at least 13 breeding pairs), as of December 2020. Additionally, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (CTCR) reported 36 wolves in five packs. Wolves continue to expand their territories in the state, and to migrate in and out per natural cycles. Some Washington wolves may even be hybrid descendants of wolves that naturally recolonized from Idaho and those that migrated in from coastal or inland B.C. In any case, Washington’s wolf recovery is a result of natural recolonization. Gray wolves were not released into the state by biologists, but arrived here under their own steam.
Gray wolves are protected statewide by the Washington Endangered Species Act. Upon federal delisting in January 2021, management of wolves returned to states; the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) manages gray wolves as an endangered species.
In the state of Washington, wolf recovery efforts are guided by the Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, which was adopted by WDFW in 2011.
Beaver Creek Pack
Butte Creek Pack
Carpenter Ridge Pack
Dirty Shirt Pack
Goodman Meadows Pack
Grouse Flats Pack
Onion Creek Pack