WENATCHEE — Chelan County is home to a new wolf pack, as of last winter, located near Lake Chelan.
The county now has two wolf packs and maybe as many as six wolves, with one breeding female suspected in the Navarre Pack in the Lake Chelan-Sawtooth Wilderness, State Wolf Biologist Ben Maletzke said.
In 2018, the Naneum wolf pack was identified as the first pack to return to Chelan County with about two wolves.
“You know they’re starting to build and it is kind of in its infancy of recovery, but they’re slowly surely working their way there,” Maletzke said.
It now appears that the Naneum wolf pack is up to three adults with one suspected to be a female, he said. Maletzke has two male wolves collared in the Naneum pack, but he has only spotted the female from a helicopter and it is hard to tell gender from that high, he said.
The Naneum pack splits its time between Kittitas and Chelan counties, he said.
He has heard some evidence of wolves in the Stehekin and Holden Village areas as well, but they may have just been passing through, Maletzke said.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife says there are at least 132 wolves in the state, according to the 2020 annual Washington gray wolf report. It is up from about 108 in the 2019 report. The number of packs in the state increased by three.
The Eastern Washington recovery area continues to exceed recovery goals, with four successful breeding pairs for three consecutive years, according to the report. The North Cascades recovery area is getting close to being taken off of federally endangered status, with four successful breeding pairs in four packs, but needs to maintain that level for four years.
The South Cascades and Northwest Coast recovery area, though, still do not have any established wolf packs, according to the report. But the agency has heard reports of individual wolves moving through the area.
For the state to reach its recovery goals, all three regions must have four breeding pairs of wolves for four years and statewide there would need to be an additional six successful breeding pairs, according to the report.
Maletzke would appreciate any help from the public with wolf sightings, he said. People can go to wwrld.us/2WJngVN to report any tracks or if they suspect they spotted a wolf.
“If folks have trail cameras out and if they are out hiking around and they see tracks, take a picture of them and upload it to our public observation database,” Maletzke said. “Because that stuff always helps us find wolves.”