The Spokesman-Review

Wolves fitted with tracking collars on reservation

Two gray wolves were trapped on the Colville Reservation this week and outfitted with tracking collars.

The wolves, which were trapped in the San Poil watershed, were the first captured on the Northeast Washington reservation in more 100 years, tribal officials said. The tracking collars will help the tribe’s biologists monitor the movements of the wolves, a 68-pound female and a 71-pound male. Both are about 14 months old.

Between three and four adult wolves in the Nc’icn Pack are believed to inhabit the San Poil watershed. Nc’icn, pronounced nn-seetsin, is the Okanogan word for wolf.

The pack probably moved in from either Idaho or Canada, officials said, and the sprawling reservation could have additional packs.

Wolves are a controversial species, and tribal members have varying views on their return, said Joe Peone, director of the tribe’s Fish and Wildlife Department. Many of the tribe’s members participate in subsistence hunts, raising potential concerns about impact on wild game.

“Indian people have a strong spiritual connection to the wolves, but we also have a long tradition of hunting deer, elk and moose with great success,” Peone said.

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