Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Mammals of Eastern Washington

These are some of the mammals that biologists in Eastern Washington have been working with:

Check out WDFW's Wildlife Research Pages for more information on studies being conducted on Washington's mammals.

[Mtn. Caribou]
Mountain Caribou
The Selkirk Mountains of northeast Washington, northern Idaho and southern British Columbia, are home to the last woodland caribou population in the U.S. Washington listed the species as endangered in 1982 and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service listed it as endangered in 1984. At that time, only about 25 individuals were left. In June of this year, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife captured 19 woodland caribou in Canada and released them in the Sullivan Lake Ranger District in Pend Oreille County. Project leaders, Jon Almack and Kurt Aluzas, have been tracking the radio-collared animals regularly since, and recently reported that the effort is holding its own between births and deaths. See WDFW's Caribou Research page for more information.

Blue Mountain Elk
[Elk bugle.wav] (26kb) Listen to an elk bugle!
The Blue Mountain Elk study is entering its fourth year. One study was initiated to look at the causes of low calf survival in the Blue Mountains of SE Washington. Over 190 elk calves were captured and fitted with a radio-telemetry collar. Eighty-four of these collared calves were killed by the following sources: cougar - 42%; black bear - 21%; unidentified predators - 11%; coyote - 4%; licensed hunters - 5%; other human - 4%; and unknown causes - 13%. Other evidence suggests that annual and seasonal rain levels and temperatures may also adversely impact elk habitat quality and thus elk survival.

[Wolf in snow]
Wolf Standing in the Snow
© Lynn Rogers
[Wolf Howl .AU] (48kb) Listen to their howls!
Eastern Washington biologists have been trying to verify and document all wolf sightings in eastern Washington for many years. Many sightings often turn out to be domestic dogs or wolf-dog hybrids, a real threat to the true wolf gene pool.

Wolves live mainly on meat from animals such as caribou, deer, moose, and elk. They also eat beavers, rabbits and even mice. Wolves do not eat humans! In fact, wolves are very shy around people and try to avoid them in the wild. Because they usually hunt for large animals, the wolves work together to catch their prey. They usually catch animals that are sick, injured, very old or very young, because they are easier to catch.

"At last I caught what I was listening for - the long-drawn quavering howl from over the hills, a sound as wild and indigenous to the north as the muskegs or the northern lights. That was wilderness music, something as free and untamed as there is on this earth."
- Sigurd F. Olson, The Singing Wilderness.

Special thanks goes to the International Wolf Center for allowing us to use their wolf recordings and beautiful picture by Lynn Rogers from their webpage.

Mammal Links

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For more information on wildlife management issues,
please contact WDFW Wildlife Management Program.

Phone: 360-902-2515
E-mail: wildthing@dfw.wa.gov

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