Washington’s wolf population grew by 28 percent last year

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The population of wolves in Washington state grew by 28 percent last year, with at least two new packs.

That’s according to a report released Friday by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

At the end of 2016, the state was home to a minimum of 115 wolves, 20 packs, and 10 successful breeding pairs. Those findings draw on information gathered from aerial surveys, remote cameras, wolf tracks, and signals from radio-collared wolves.

That’s an increase of at least 25 wolves since 2015, despite the confirmed deaths of 14 wolves from various causes.

Wolves were all but eliminated from western states in the last century. But the animals started moving back into Washington from neighboring areas shortly after the turn of the century, sparking some conflicts with ranchers.