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After the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife staff documented a third year of seven or more breeding pairs of wolves last year, the eastern part of the state has entered Phase III of its wolf management plan.
Announcing Eastern Oregon's entry into Phase III of the wolf management plan on Tuesday, wildlife officials also confirmed that wildlife staff documented eight breeding pairs of the wild beast in the area east of U. S. Highways 97,
20 and 395 in 2016.
Officials also explained that a breeding pair represents two adult wolves that produce at least a couple of pups that survive for at least one year. Last year's eight breeding pairs were found in Umatilla County, Union County, and in the Imnaha Wildlife Management Unit in Wallowa County.
Russ Morgan, wolf biologist with ODFW, said, "Moving into Phase III is a significant milestone towards the recovery of gray wolves in Oregon. It shows how successful wolves can be in this state - in just nine years under existing management we have gone from no packs of wolves to multiple packs and an expanding distribution."
As Oregon has entered the Phase III, either ODFW or USDA Wildlife Services can confirm wolf depredations in the eastern part of the state. USDA Wildlife Services can also continue to assist ODFW in the wolf damage management.
Apart from Oregon, wolves have made an impressive comeback in Idaho, Montana and Washington.
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