Words by Smiley Team
Wildlife officials in Oregon said they have identified a new family of wolves in the northern Cascade Mountains, bringing the total number of known wolf groups in the region to three.
The group, two adults and two pups, were originally discovered last December on the reservation of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, about 100 miles southeast of Portland. They were most recently seen in August as tribal biologists use trail cams to track them.
“Wolves will disperse to different places, but when we have resident wolves, like we know they’re sticking in that area, that’s when we create something called an 'area of known wolf activity,’” said agency spokesperson Michelle Dennehy.
Wolves in the area were on a steady decline but this newest group represents a sign of recovery.
“I hope this will be an exciting new chapter in the story of wolf recovery in the state, which is seeing wolves dispersing into territory where they haven’t lived for decades,” Amaroq Weiss, senior wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement.
Wolves used to be incredibly widespread across the US but they were nearly wiped out in the 1930s for their fur or because they were considered a nuisance.
The growth rate is slow but year over year states like Oregon are seeing their wolf populations grow, and California, a place where wolves were completely wiped out, are seeing the animal return.
The Oregon wolves have been moving to California, west of the Cascades. In 2011, an Oregon wolf known as OR-7 became the first wolf confirmed to be west of the Cascades in more than 60 years. He then traveled down into California and became that state's first confirmed wolf in nearly a century. Three of his offspring have been detected in California, according to its Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Wildlife advocates are pushing for stronger protections for the growing wolf populations, protections largely stripped away by the Trump administration.
DONATE: The California Wolf Center is an organization that helps support the growing wolf population in California.
SUPPORT: Get into nature. Go to a state or national park near you and just try and take it in. Sometimes that’s all you need to want to protect it.