The gray wolf, at least in the Evergreen state, isn’t so lone these days. Washington’s native species, Canis lupus, has been on the uptick with a population growth of about 28 percent every year since 2008. This might look like a steep jump, but the animal was nearly eradicated in the early twentieth century—thanks, fur trappers. Recent research from the University of Washington suggests 150 wolves currently roam the state. Earlier this year the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to discontinue the gray wolf’s 41-year endangered species status (wolves are already federally delisted in the eastern third of Washington). But, closer to home, recovery efforts continue: Wolves remain listed as endangered under state law. And in May, governor Jay Inslee signed House Bill 2097, reaffirming the legislature’s general support (legally and financially) for protecting the local canids. The apex predators, it seems, are here to stay.
Wolves by the Numbers
► $5,000 The max fine for killing a state-listed endangered species.
► 80% The amount of time wolves and livestock coexist without problems (aka depredation) in the U.S.
► 88% The amount of time wolves and livestock coexist just fine in Washington.