Washington state is currently home to 24 known gray wolf packs with a minimum count of 132 wolves statewide.

~ Additional wolves reside on the lands of the Colville Confederated Tribes and are managed by the tribal wildlife agency. Their numbers are not included in the state’s wolf count. A total of 46 wolves in five packs were reported by the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (CTCR) in 2020. ~

WDFW Gray Wolf Activity 2020
Known wolf packs and single wolf territories in Washington, 2020, not including unconfirmed or suspected packs or border packs from other states and provinces. The Touchet and Grouse Flats pack territory boundary is not displayed where it overlaps Oregon. Map: WDFW

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.

Recovery

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.

WDFW Number of Wolves
Minimum known number of wolves in Washington managed by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the Spokane Tribe, and the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation (CTCR), 2008 – 2020. Numbers provided by CTCR reflect winter numbers incidentally gathered by biologists from hunters, trappers, and public observations rather than focused efforts to count wolves using year-end track, aerial, and camera surveys conducted by WDFW and tribal partners for 2020. Graph: WDFW.

Protected Status

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.

Wolf Packs

WDFW Dispersal Map
Generalized dispersal paths for eight collared wolves that dispersed from known wolf packs in Washington in 2020. Map: WDFW
Washington wolf recovery areas as defined in the state Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. Map: WDFW
Federal classification of wolves in Washington, 2019. Map: WDFW

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