October 29, 2010 in Idaho

Pend Oreille wolf pack likely won’t stay as large

By The Spokesman-Review
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Background and the latest updates

Toll-free line

Idaho residents can call a 24-hour, toll free number to report wolf mortality, sightings on private and public property, and to ask questions about wolf management.

The number to call is (877) 661-1908. The toll-free line is operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Gov. Butch Otter recently announced that the state of Idaho would no longer manage wolves, returning those duties to the federal government. The toll-free line will help Idaho residents during the transition, federal officials said.

Calls to report wolf depredation incidents on livestock or pets should continue to be directed to U.S. Department of Agriculture Wildlife Services at (866) 487-3297 or (208) 378-5077.

A wolf pack with a dozen members has been spotted in northern Pend Oreille County, a state wildlife biologist confirmed.

The pack, one of three confirmed in Washington state, consists of two adults, four yearlings and six pups. Though the pack is large now, it’s unlikely that it will keep all of its members through the winter, said Jay Shepherd, assistant district biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife in Colville.

The yearlings will eventually disperse, he said, and winter mortality tends to be high for pups.

Food availability is a determining factor for pack size. Given the prey availability in the area, a dozen wolves would probably be “the upper limit” for a pack, Shepherd said.

The pack was mentioned in a Thursday story about wolves in The Spokesman-Review. Dave Braunberger, a Chattaroy, Wash., resident, reported seeing the pack while he was hunting for mule deer earlier this month.

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