Wolf population grew 30% in Washington last year, state says

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The state says Washington's wolf population grew by more than 30 percent last year and formed four new packs.

The annual survey by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife found at least 68 gray wolves in the state through Dec. 31, 2014.

That was up from at least 52 wolves counted in 2013.

The state also found there are now 16 wolf packs and at least five successful breeding pairs.

Gray wolves were all but eliminated from western states in the last century, but are now recovering in several states.

All of the wolves counted last year were in Eastern Washington, where there have been conflicts between wolves and ranchers.

The state says at least 10 wolves died in 2014, and the animals killed 35 sheep.