Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Friendly #wolf lives to howl again

When a wild wolf gets too friendly with livestock, it’s usually a death sentence, but as 
Environmental Specialist Gary Chittim reports, recently wildlife managers decided to try 
something different. KING

NEAR TENINO, Wash. -- A Western Washington wolf sanctuary has accepted a wild Eastern Washington wolf that was not acting wild.

Ranchers had never seen any like it. They would find a wild female wolf curled up next to the dog pens in the morning and peacefully hanging out with their cows during the day. That is normally a death sentence for a wolf, but this is not a normal wolf.

Ione is named after the community of Ione, Washington, where she was seen fraternizing with the domestics. She is one of two surviving members of the Ruby Creek pack in Pend Oreille County.
State Fish and Wildlife leaders first tried to haze Ione. They shot bean bag rounds at her and used loud noises to try to run her off, but she kept coming back. Rather than shoot her, they decided to trap her and turn her over to Wolf Haven International near Tenino.

Wolf Haven Executive Director Diane Gallegos said Ione has begun to get used to life in a half-acre pen she shares with a male companion. The pen is off limits to visitors because they want Ione to get more comfortable.

She will never be released for fear she will get too close to livestock again or breed with a dog and alter the wild blood line of the recovering Washington state wolf population.
During her first week in captivity Gallegos said the wolf accepted a meal and had no problem eating a deer leg.