Monday, July 30, 2007

Welcome Wolves to Washington

Recently there's been a flurry of news about coyotes in Seattle. A bit of misinformation is out there, and only a little fear-mongering (mostly on behalf of small pets), but in general I am impressed with how willing Seattlites are to share their green space. But can you imagine the response if wolves made their way to Puget Sound?

An article in the Seattle Times today reports the first documentation of the coyote's larger cousin, Canis lupis in Washington State. A biologist's motion activated field camera captured on film a gray wolf in Pend Orielle County earlier this year.

Ironically, the less populous wolf is better studied than the opportunistic coyote. Mountain state and Pacific Northwest residents are probably be familiar with the wolf reintroduction program in Yellowstone and beyond. This wolf is probably descendant from these transplants and is scouting for new territory. Wildlife experts in Washington say that there are no packs in the state yet, and it may be a while before Washingtonians see any. That is not stopping efforts to plan for wolves' arrival. The stigma and mythology associated with wolves may not be as misguided as the public misconceptions concerning sharks, but community consensus needs to form sooner than later.

The wolves are coming. Will we be ready to welcome them?

No comments: