Wolves may be back in Oregon

September 9, 2006

Oregon wildlife officials are trying to confirm that wolves have returned to the state.

There have been several supposed sightings, The Portland Oregonian reports. One hunter said he saw two wolves with two pups in mid-August, suggesting that the animal is breeding in the state for the first time in decades.

Wolves were wiped out in Oregon by hunters, and by farmers who thought they were pests for killing livestock. Wolf packs were re-established in Yellowstone National Park and some parts of Idaho, and biologists believe they have expanded -- or soon will expand -- into Oregon.

Biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plan to set up remote cameras next week in the Wallowa Mountains. They have already seen what could have been a wolf through a telescope and found tracks.

Three wolves are known to have entered the state in the past seven years. One was trapped and removed, another was killed by a car and the third was shot illegally.

"We're getting to the point where it sure appears we may have wild wolves in northeast Oregon," said Russ Morgan, the state's wolf coordinator. "But as biologists, we want to be certain about that."

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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