After it became habituated to humans and dogs, Washington Fish & Wildlife have decided to capture this problem wolf and place it in a zoo.
Over the past few months, a lone female wolf has taken up residence near the town of Ione, Washington. Since then, the she has exhibited behaviors common to wolves that have become habituated to encounters with humans. These actions include playing with domesticated animals and refusing to leave the area after being shot with rubber bullets by Washington Fish & Wildlife (WDFW).
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As reported in the Spokesman Review, WDFW officials are afraid that with the winter breeding season fast approaching, she might be bred by a domesticated dog or that some other undesirable human/wolf interaction might occur. To prevent this from happening, WDFW is attempting to trap the wolf and transfer her to a wildlife park in western Washington. If successful, this would be the first time that a wolf has been captured out of the wild and turned over to a wildlife park in Washington since wolves have moved back into the state.
Unfortunately, this is easier said than done. This particular wolf was trapped back in 2013 and fitted with a radio collar. Well, the saying “once bitten, twice shy” applies pretty well here. Wolves are pretty smart and this wolf will probably be very difficult to successfully trap again. So far, the state of Washington has spent over $8,000 to deal with this wolf with nothing to show for it.
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It’s been an interesting couple of months for wolves in the state of Washington. In August, the Alpha Female of the Huckleberry Wolf Pack was accidentally killed during efforts (which were ultimately successful) to stop wolf predation of a sheep herd in the area. The state of Washington caught a lot of flack on that issue from both sides, which is probably why they are being very cautious in their efforts to deal with this wolf.
However, it appears that the odds successfully trapping this particular wolf are very low. Tranquilizing the wolf using a helicopter has a higher chance of success, but is much more expensive and much more dangerous. The questions remain: how long will WDFW continue their “feel good” policy of dealing with this wolf and what will they do with the next problem wolf?
They can’t put every wolf that comes into contact with humans in a zoo…
How would you deal with this problem wolf if it were up to you? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.