By Ann McCreary
Conservation groups are offering a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible for killing the breeding female of the Teanaway gray wolf pack in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
Gray wolves are protected under state and federal law as endangered throughout the western third of Washington, including the Methow Valley. Wolves in the eastern two-thirds of the state are protected under state law, but not federal law.
The dead female wolf was recovered by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers on Oct. 28 near the Salmon la Sac area north of Cle Elum, according to a press release from the Center for Biological Diversity.
A telemetry collar on the wolf provided data indicating that she was killed around Oct. 17, according to the release.
Federal wildlife officials have requested that anyone with information about the killing of the wolf, or who noticed suspicious behavior in the Teanaway area, to contact federal law enforcement agents at (206) 512-9329 or (509) 727-8358.
State law enforcement agents may be contacted on the poaching hotline at (877) 933-9847. Reports may be made anonymously.
“Every wolf counts in Washington’s ongoing and fragile wolf recovery,” said Shawn Cantrell of Defenders of Wildlife, one of the organizations offering the reward.
“It is our hope that this reward will help law enforcement bring the person responsible for the killing of this wolf to justice and deter future tragic killings.”
Groups involved in providing the reward for information include the Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, the Humane Society of the United Sates, the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust and Woodland Park Zoo.
There were 52 confirmed wolves in Washington at the end of 2013, with five packs having confirmed breeding pairs, according to the press release from the conservation groups.
This killing is the second breeding female lost in 2014. The other known loss was the Huckleberry pack breeding female in northeastern Washington in August, the release said.
The state conservation goal for the gray wolf population is a minimum of 15 successful breeding pairs for three consecutive years in three regions across the state. To date, the number of successful breeding pairs has stayed at five since 2012, the release said.