SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The state has launched a study to determine how eight years of growth in the wolf population is affecting other species.
The study by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the University of Washington is scheduled to last at least five years.
It will assess the health of deer and elk herds in northeast Washington, where they support hunting and other recreational opportunities while providing prey for wolves and other predators.
Researchers will also examine the response to wolves by other predators, especially cougars.
Wolves were wiped out in Washington early in the last century. But in recent years they have begun returning to the state from Idaho and Canada. As of last June, there were 19 wolf packs and at least 90 wolves in the state.