There’s lots of talk about wolves in the Mount Baker foothills recently, but it might just be howling at the moon.
Nevertheless, Kendall residents are talking about the possibility of wolves headed south from Canada, driven from their home ranges by the wildfires that destroyed more than 3 million acres of British Columbia wilderness last summer and fall.
Officials from both the U.S. Forest Service and the state Department of Fish and Wildife have discussed the issue, said Nita Lindall, who works in the office of the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center, a multipurpose community center in the rural enclave of a few hundred residents west of the Mount Baker Snoqualmie National Forest.
“They’re thinking that we might have a pack of wolves,” she said. “They’re telling people to keep their pets inside.”
Lindall said that area residents have been using the neighborhood-oriented social media site Nextdoor to discuss the possibility. On Facebook, the Kendallwatch Community Action Group and Block Watch and East Whatcom Regional Resource Center have shared warnings about wolves.
But Fish and Wildlife biologist Fenner Yarborough said there’s been no confirmed wolf sightings in Whatcom County.
“We don’t have any verified evidence of a wolf being in the Kendall area,” he said.
Yarborough said if someone sees a wolf, they should try to get a photo of the animal or its tracks, or a photo or sample of its scat. There’s an online reporting tool at wdfw.wa.gov, he said.
Colton Whitworth, a public affairs officer for the Forest Service, also discounted the possibility of wolf activity.
“We’ve received a few calls, but there has been no evidence that there’s anything out there,” Whitworth said. “But it’s a big range and wolves typically do have large ranges.”
Still, Lindall said that several Kendall residents reported that their dogs were barking more at night, at least over the past two weeks.
“Every once in a while, we’ve had cougar sightings, but that’s pretty rare,” she said.