Washington’s fourth wolf pack has been confirmed in the Teanaway River drainage near Cle Elum.
State biologists caught, collared and released an adult female last month that was lactacting, indicating that she was nursing pups. Tissue and hair samples were submitted for DNA testing, which confirmed the animal was a gray wolf.
Wolves are migrating to Washington from Idaho and British Columbia, said Phil Anderson, director of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The Lookout Pack, confirmed in Okanogan and Chelan counties in 2008, was Washington’s first documented resident pack since a breeding population of wolves was extirpated from the state in the 1930s. A second pack, known as the Diamond Pack, was documented in 2009 in central Pend Oreille County.
A pup from a third pack, known as the Salmo Pack, was radio-collared in 2010 in northeast Pend Oreille County, where pack territory ranges into British Columbia. Wolves from the Cutoff Peak Pack, with a den site in Idaho, range into Pend Oreille County in northeast Washington.
Before the Teanaway Pack was confirmed, Washington’s resident wolf population was estimated at 25.