Local News

Wolf spotted on Mt. Spokane for first time in 70 years

SPOKANE, Wash. - A game camera on Mt. Spokane caught an image of a wolf recently, the first confirmed sighting there in 70 years.

Hank Seipp has been studying wolves in the Inland Northwest for years now. He says the people of Spokane should be happy to see a wolf back on Mt. Spokane as they play an important role in our ecosystem.

"It's an absolute positive thing. Wolves have been missing on the landscape for quite some time," Seipp said. "The only effective coyote control is to have wolves back on the landscape, and then that helps all the other species."

According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife gray wolves are migrating into Eastern Washington on their own. The department couldn't confirm the one spotted on Mt. Spokane was a gray wolf based off one photo but are monitoring the area to see if any kind of pack forms.

For the Spokane Lands Council they're sure this is a wolf sighting and say Mt. Spokane is one of the best places they can be.

"It gives them a larger area to kind of hang out and keep away from people," Mike Petersen with the Lands Council said.

Steipp says he understands the concern about wolves attacking pets and livestock but says it's up to owners to keep them safe.

"People have to understand that there are some responsibilities we have to take as a community to help the wolves," he said.

Steipp added he would like to see farmers and ranchers begin using non-lethal tools to keep wolves away like a foxlight, which imitates man-made light to scare wolves.

"They're reclusive and they don't like human presence, so with human presence and foxlights, and using fladry and other means, they can deter attacks on livestock," he said.

Fish and Wildlife says this sighting shouldn't be a concern for the public, adding this wolf could already be hundreds of miles away from here. The department says this wolf won't be a concern unless it shows a pattern of remaining in the area.