Washington’s wolf population surge slows, worrying advocates

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Growth in Washington’s gray wolf population slowed dramatically last year, raising concerns from an environmental group that says the state should stop killing wolves that prey on livestock.

At the end of 2017, Washington was home to at least 122 wolves, 22 packs and 14 successful breeding pairs. That’s according to the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

It’s the highest the population has been since annual surveys started in 2008. However, last year’s count was up just 6 percent from the minimum of 115 wolves reported at the end of 2016.

By contrast, wolf populations grew at a rate of around 30 percent per year the previous decade.

The Center for Biological Diversity says the state should be slower to kill problem wolves.