courtesy of The Seattle Times
by Craig Welch
It’s been just 2 ½ years since Canis lupus took up residence in the rolling hills above Eastern Washington’s Methow Valley.
But the gray wolf’s return to Washington after a 70-year absence has not exactly gone as most expected. At this point, it’s not even clear if the state’s first pack, the Methow’s Lookout Pack, still exists.
Since the wolves first returned, the pack’s breeding female disappeared under suspicious circumstances. The carcass of another dead gray wolf was found dumped near the highway in a neighboring county. And the pelt from a third wolf was found by a FedEx worker after an Okanogan County resident tried to ship a bloody, leaking box to Canada. Wildlife cops searching a suspect’s home in that case also found photographs of what may be a fourth dead canine.
“We don’t know how many [Lookout Pack] wolves are left,” said Gary Wiles, a biologist with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The pack seemed to more or less break up after the female vanished.”