2013 report indicates a modest, stable wolf population in Washington State

No wolf population growth and almost no livestock depredations-

The 2013 official Washington State wolf report is out today. It shows a very slight population increase from 2012 — from 51 to 52 wolves. Because random effects loom so large in small populations, it is most reasonable to call the situation “no growth,” “stable.”

Because there is often a lot of shouting about actual or suspected wolf depredations on livestock and pets, 2013’s numbers show a case for silence on the matter. Only one cow calf died from wolves and none were injured. Three dogs sustained injuries from wolves.

Washington wolf packs were less productive than average for wolves in the Western U.S. with an average litter size of just 2.4 wolves. Packs were small with a mean of 3.8 members. Thirteen wolf packs were identified, and five of them had what are considered to be “breeding pairs.”  Washington wolf populations are evaluated in three areas — Eastern Washington, North Cascades, and South Cascades/Coastal Washington. All of the wolves were in Eastern Washington (10 packs), or the North Cascades (3 packs). Of the Eastern Washington wolves, all were clustered up in Northeastern Washington.

One pack was interstate – Idaho-Washington. This is the Diamond Pack. With 9 members, it is the largest of all the Washington State wolf packs. Two packs lapped into British Columbia — the Salmo at 4 wolves and the Wedge at just two wolves. Both Salmo and Diamond were breeding pair packs.  Other breeding pair packs were the Lookout, the Teanaway, and the Huckleberry.

We earlier posted a report on Oregon wolves in 2013. Later we plan stories on Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming wolves in 2013. Their official 2013 reports were released today.






  1. Ralph Maughan Avatar
    Ralph Maughan

    For those who speculated there would be a Washington State wolf population explosion, these figures compared to the previous year tell us that it isn’t likely.

    1. Louise Kane Avatar
      Louise Kane

      So why not a larger population increase? interesting to note one pack, the Diamond Pack is Idaho -Washington interstate.

      I understand tracking livestock deaths as political reality but hard to swallow pet deaths. Should pet deaths be a consideration in managing predators, I think not.

      anyhow why do you think such a small increase?

      1. bret Avatar

        I had read that the wolf number was likely in the 120 range but actual individual wolves that could be positively confirmed number of 52.
        I think the 100 + is more accurate, the number of pack, BP, and population grow each year.

  2. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine

    Interesting – I like that there were almost no livestock depredations either. Good for Washington!

  3. jdubya Avatar

    Hey, where is your planned story on wolves in Utah? Huh??

    Oh, right, our wolves either get shot and buried or run out of the state.

  4. jerry collins Avatar
    jerry collins

    Finally some pleasant news…..I may spend some time this summer in north eastern Washington.


Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University. He was a Western Watersheds Project Board Member off and on for many years, and was also its President for several years. For a long time he produced Ralph Maughan’s Wolf Report. He was a founder of the Greater Yellowstone Coalition. He and Jackie Johnson Maughan wrote three editions of “Hiking Idaho.” He also wrote “Beyond the Tetons” and “Backpacking Wyoming’s Teton and Washakie Wilderness.” He created and is the administrator of The Wildlife News.

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Ralph Maughan