State says breeding female of wolf pack was illegally killed


Spokane, Washington (AP)-- A female wolf that had pups earlier this year has been illegally killed in northeast Washington state.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologists responded to a report of a dead wolf on May 26 in the Sheep Creek area of Stevens County. The agency says the female died of a gunshot wound.

The Spokesman-Review reports that biologists believe the wolf that was killed was the breeding female from the Wedge Pack.

Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Staci Lehman says the agency is investigating. Conservation Northwest is offering a $7,500 reward for information leading to a poaching conviction.

The last confirmed wolf poaching in the state was on May 27, 2019, near the Little Pend Oreille National Wildlife Refuge, also in Stevens County. There has been no conviction in that case despite reward money totaling $10,000.

There are a minimum of 178 wolves in 29 packs and 16 successful breeding pairs in Washington, according to Fish and Wildlife’s annual survey released in April. There have been repeated conflicts between wolves and humans since the animals returned to the state earlier this century.

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