Alpha female of the old Gravelly Pack is in Washington State!

Feb. 8, 2002, more Feb. 9 and 14

I hadn't been following the captured Gravelly Pack much since it was released in NW Montana because it seemed to have scattered upon release, but now one member has certainly scattered in an interesting direction. . . . Ralph Maughan

News Release from Defenders of Wildlife.

Defenders of Wildlife Pledges to Compensate for Washington Wolf

BOISE, Idaho - Defenders of Wildlife today pledged to use The Bailey Wildlife Foundation Wolf Compensation Trust to cover verified wolf depredations of livestock if they occur in Washington, on confirmation that an endangered gray wolf has crossed into the state from Idaho. According to US Fish and Wildlife Service wolf biologist Tom Meier, a black wolf tagged "Y206", was located during a routine monitoring flight on Tuesday, February 6th of this week ten miles west of Priest Lake inside the Washington state border, 70 years after the species was shot, poisoned and trapped out of existence in the state.

"This is great news for wolves and wildlife supporters, and a positive development for the entire Northwest," said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife. "Wolves deserve the chance to re-establish themselves in areas of prime historic habitat, and Defenders stands ready to help smooth the way for this important species with its compensation and proactive programs

Y206 is the alpha female of the Gravelly pack and biologists believe she may be seeking a mate in the new area where they suspect, but have not documented, the presence of other recolonizing wolves. Her radio collar is new and expected to last four years, giving biologists a long time to monitor her activity. She was scavenging the carcass of a dead moose when she was seen from the air.

"Hopefully, she will find a suitable partner and reestablish the first pack of wolves in Washington state since they were eradicated over 70 years ago," Suzanne Laverty, Northwest Representative for Defenders of Wildlife. "We've been hoping for this day to come soon. There is plentiful habitat in this part of Washington state and very few livestock to cause any real conflicts. It's perfect for wolves."

On December 19, 2001, this alpha female, her six pups and one yearling son were relocated to the Yaak River drainage in Northwestern Montana after being in captivity since June 2001. The pack was held to allow the pups to reach an age where they could survive on their own after the death of the pack's alpha male.  Now 80% of their adult size, the 10 month old pups appear to be faring well in their new territory though biologists are still closely monitoring them. One pup has even dispersed to British Columbia about 15 miles beyond the US Canadian border.

On this week's routine aerial survey to track them, Meier reported that he found the other pups from this pack fairly close to the relocation site and then turned to look for the alpha female.

"We followed her signal out to the Priest Lake area in Idaho and then just kept following it west into Washington," Meier said.

Defenders of Wildlife's The Bailey Wildlife Foundation Wolf Compensation Trust has helped promote acceptance of reintroduced wolves or those returning to their historic range. Through this fund, Defenders of Wildlife has paid over $208,000 since 1987 to ranchers to reimburse them for wolf-caused livestock losses, in order to help create an atmosphere of greater tolerance with local residents where wolves have been re-established. For more information on  the program and a map of payments, see

In addition, Defenders has initiated The Bailey Wildlife Foundation Proactive Carnivore Fund which assists ranchers and wolf biologists to find and implement alternatives to lethal control, and to develop more preventative measures to deter wolves from livestock. This includes the purchase of livestock guarding dogs, electric fencing, as well as alternative pasture and feed for livestock destined for areas of strong potential conflicts. The program has even initiated an innovative program called the "wolf guardians," which involves volunteers who camp near livestock in wolf habitat, serving as a human buffer to keep wolves away. Information on the proactive
fund is at

Defenders of Wildlife is a leading nonprofit conservation organization recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and its habitat. With more than 430,000 members and supporters, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues. To stay current on hot topics in wildlife conservation, subscribe to DENlines at, Defenders of Wildlife's electronic update and action alert network.

2-9-02. Story on the wolf from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle. By Scott McMillion

2-9-02. Story in the Seattle Times. By Hal Benton

2-14-2002. Lone wolf on extended stay. Y-206, seen near Metaline Falls, brings down deer, moose, elk.
Dan Hansen. Spokane Spokesman Review.

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