$15k reward offered for information on illegal wolf poaching in Stevens County

Conservation groups announced a $15,000 reward for information on the poaching of a breeding female of the Wedge wolf pack in Stevens County.

The wolf was found dead of a gunshot wound on May 26 in the Sheep Creek area in northeast Washington state.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the slain wolf had given birth to pups earlier this year. Because her death occurred when the pups would not yet have been fully weaned, her litter has likely starved to death. Her death also marks the demise of the Wedge pack, which consisted of just two wolves, the organization said. 

"The scientific literature concludes that the loss of a breeding member of a wolf pack can lead to the dissolution of the pack and abandonment of territory, especially if the pack size is small to begin with," the Center for Biological Diversity said. 

RELATED: State says breeding female of wolf pack was illegally killed in Stevens County

"This senseless act killed a mother wolf and most likely her pups, and it has destroyed the Wedge pack," said Amaroq Weiss, senior West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. "Poachers have killed far too many of Washington’s state-endangered wolves without consequence. We urge state officials to take action against those responsible before more wolves meet the same tragic fate."

While gray wolves were prematurely stripped of their federal Endangered Species Act protections, they remain protected under state law in Washington. 

Only 132 confirmed wolves lived in Washington at the end of 2020, according to the Center for Biological Diversity. There are 24 packs and 13 confirmed breeding pairs on lands managed by the state.

As many as 84 wolves may have been poached in Washington in the past nine years, the organization said. 

Anyone with information regarding the incident should call the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife at (360) 902-2928, visit the department’s website and report a violation, or text WDFWTIP to 847411.

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