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The Return of the Wolves

The legal tussle over the wolves in the Northern Rockies, which took a turn for the better a week or so back, has overshadowed another uplifting wolf story: confirmation of a breeding pack of wolves in northeast Oregon for the first time since the animals were shot, trapped, and poisoned out of the state more than 50 years ago. The Oregon wildlife agency has an interesting history here and the Oregonian's Michael Milstein reports on the recent discovery here.

Biologists have found wolf scat and footprints over the past year or so, but only recently did they hear howls from adults and pups. They assume that the wolves migrated from Idaho or Wyoming and are descendants of wolves that were introduced to Idaho or Yellowstone a decade ago.

When the Fish and Wildlife Service removed Northern Rockies wolves from the Endangered Species Act's protection they included any wolves that might exist in eastern Oregon, but the court's overturning of that delisting means that the Oregon wolves are safe for now—plus the fact that they're protected under state law as well.

It's all very heartening. Give nature a chance and it's pretty resilient.

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