(The Center Square) – Environmental groups have upped the reward amount for information that leads to a conviction in the case of six wolves poisoned earlier this year in Stevens County. Instead of $51,100, the reward now stands at $53,900, according to the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife.
For nearly nine months, WDFW has been investigating six wolf mortalities within the Wedge pack territory in Stevens County.
In October, WDFW revealed that the wolves had all died from ingesting poison, but did not provide details about the type of toxic substance used on the animals.
The search for those who poisoned the wolves began after four of the animals were found dead together in late February and expanded when two additional wolf carcasses were found within a month of searching the area.
Chipping in on the reward to encourage people to share information is: Center for Biological Diversity, Conservation Northwest, Defenders of Wildlife, Humane Society of the United States, Kettle Range Conservation Group, Northwest Animal Rights Network, Sierra Club – Washington Chapter, Washington Wildlife First, and Western Watersheds Project.
Tips about the case can be left confidentially on WDFW’s poaching hotline, 877-933-9847, or by texting 847411.
WDFW has issued a reminder that gray wolves are listed as endangered under state law throughout the state. Under state law, the illegal killing of a wolf or other endangered fish or wildlife species is a gross misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.
In the western two-thirds of Washington, wolves are also listed under the federal Endangered Species Act and have added protections.
In its monthly report released Monday, WDFW reported that research continues to determine the effectiveness of range riding at reducing conflicts between livestock and carnivores. Last month, WDFW staff and a doctoral student spent several weeks in Northeastern Washington collecting trail cameras to begin processing data about wolf movement.
WDFW was on the move in October on another front. Several staffers attended the International Wolf Symposium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The forum is held every four years and hosts the world’s top wolf biologists in educational session on research topics related to wolves.
Ben Maletzke, WDFW’s statewide wolf specialist, was invited to speak about wolf recovery at the symposium, which included about 400 wolf biologists, researchers, managers and others.
Also giving a presentation was Gabe Spence, WDFW wolf biologist, who addressed wolf capture/handling at a Wildlife Handling and Chemical Immobilization course taught by Dr. Mark Johnson of Global Wildlife Resources and hosted by Wolf Haven International.
WDFW reports a minimum of 206 known wolves in 33 packs that include at least 19 breeding pairs.
People are asked by the agency to help compile wolf data by reporting remote camera images videos of wolves, tracks or sightings. Photographs can be uploaded at wdfw.wa.gov.