The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and the University of Washington (UW) have launched a collaborative study to determine how eight years of growth in the state’s wolf population is affecting other wildlife species.
The study, scheduled to last at least five years, 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.
“The experience in other western states shows that wolves and other predators may affect the size and behavior of deer and elk herds,” said Eric Gardner, head of the WDFW Wildlife Program. “We want to take a closer look at the situation here in Washington state as our own wolf population continues to grow.”
Researchers will also examine the response to wolves by other predators, especially cougars, said Gardner, noting that the study will dovetail with an ongoing research project on moose in northeast Washington.
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