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New Washington wolf pack news sparks rare poetic debate

Washington's wolf reporting webpage indicates sightings in the Loup Loup Pass area of Okanogan County.
Washington's wolf reporting webpage indicates sightings in the Loup Loup Pass area of Okanogan County.

ENDANGERED SPECIES -- Today's news that a new wolf pack -- the Loup Loup Pack -- has been confirmed in north-central Washington near the towns of Omak and Twisp has sparked a trend on the newspaper reader comments thread that's rarer than an endangered species: opinions on wolf management that are worth reading!

Indeed, a few readers are responding to the news in Haiku.

Says Wedeln6969:

Today, I'd like to offer a "wolfku" which is a wolf themed haiku (5-7-5 syllable structure, no rhymes, no humans!)

wolf in winter

wolf puppy howls, branch
sees, quiet coy flame bragging
melting angels groan

I don't know exactly what that means, but this is remarkable for no other reason that some wolf zealots are disciplining their response to a measured number of lines and syllables.  Eureka!

Spokesfolk responds:

snug in LL Bean quilts, urbanites
text, chilled range rider shudders
mother cow drags entrails.

Ah, gore in beautiful poetic rhythm.  We're on to something here, despite the plea of Lysanders_muse:

wolf thy neighbor not
taste forbade enjoying haiku
please stop please stop now

Mtharves borrows a line from Aldo Leopold to launch this observation:

Eyes of green fire
Howls sounding through the moonlight
My neck hairs rising

Jamtowzer speaks clearly for the anti-wolf crowd:

Blam blam blam gray pelts
Ultimate predator wins
Problem solved, next pest.

Rosehips calls for moderation and coexistence:

hungry like a dog
master-mind of survival
keep your livestock safe

After that,  the usual taunting and ranting takes over and it gets boring.

Next pack, please.

Here's the rest of the news story about the state's 17th wolf pack:

OMAK – A new wolf pack has been confirmed in Okanogan County, bringing to 17 the number of packs in Washington state.

The new pack, which may have two to six members, is being called the Loup Loup Pack, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials who announced the new pack on Tuesday. It has been sighted in the Twisp and Omak areas. Loup Loup Pass was is a prominent place within the wolves’ range in the Methow Valley.

This is the fourth confirmed wolf pack in North Central Washington, including the Wenatchee Pack, which was discovered south of Wenatchee in March 2013. That pack had only two known adults found in a survey last December. Scott Becker, wolf specialist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said now that there’s snow on the ground, they’re beginning to look in the pack’s territory to see if there’s continuing wolf activity in the area.

In Okanogan County, there’s also the Lookout Pack to the east of the new pack, and the Hozomeen Pack, which mainly lives in British Columbia but occasionally comes into northern Okanogan County, officials said.

The current status of the Lookout Pack near Twisp – the first confirmed pack in the state – is also unknown, said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Scott Fitkin. He said a radio collar on one female in that pack stopped transmitting on Oct. 20. “We don’t know whether her collar just failed, or if she got poached. We have no idea what happened,” he said. In Mid-October, the pack had three or four adults and several pups, he said.

Fitkin said it’s reasonable to assume one or more members from the new Loup Loup Pack dispersed from the Lookout Pack. But, he said, they could have come from quite a ways away. One of the wolves that was collared in the Teanaway Pack dispersed this year and showed up well into the North Cascades National Park this summer,“ he said.

Scientists hope to get a collar on one of the new pack members next year to better track the pack, said Ann Froschauer, a spokeswoman for the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Confirmation of the new pack was made by staff from the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife. Froschauer said the new pack is probably an offshoot of one of the other packs in the Pacific Northwest, as gray wolves are known to travel long distances.

The gray wolf is federally listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and the Fish and Wildlife Service is the primary agency responsible for managing wolves in the western two-thirds of Washington, including the area where the new pack was confirmed. Wolves are listed statewide as endangered by the state of Washington.

”This is a sign that wolves are continuing to re-establish themselves in the state,“ Froschauer said. ”We want to move them toward recovery and take them off the endangered species list.“

Both of the agencies will continue to work to reduce conflicts between wolves and livestock grazing in the state, she said.

Confirmation of the new pack came after reports of public sightings of multiple wolves in the area. The wolves’ presence was later confirmed through surveys by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and USDA Wildlife Services.

Washington’s wolf population has continued to grow. At the end of 2014, the state had at least 68 wolves in 16 wolf packs with a total of 5 successful breeding pairs.

Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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