HOWL Colorado

Wolf packs grow in the Pacific Northwest

The iconic howls that echoed through the ancient forests of the Pacific Northwest are slowly making a comeback. Wolves are a predator symbolic of the American West.

By 1974, wolves were almost completely eradicated from the lower 48 states by means of trapping, shooting and poison, according to a National Geographic article titled “War on Wolves.”

Researchers and wolf advocates fear new legislation passed in Wyoming that may threaten the re-introduction of wolves in Oregon and stem the growing population in the western United States.

Wyoming passed a law in September identifying wolves as predators, permitting them to be hunted. In most areas it is known as The Wyoming Wolf Management Strategy. The organization Defenders of Wildlife responded by calling it “an unjust slaughtering of thousands of vital predators.”

The Cattle Ranchers Association now has the ability to shoot wolves and “protect their means of life and the way they put food on the table for their families.” As the population of wolves fluctuates, the hostility and lawsuits increase dramatically between these opposing groups.

Researchers are most familiar with one wolf in particular — OR7, who made his way across Oregon in fall 2011. According to a report by Oregon Fish and Wildlife, OR7 was the first wolf confirmed west of the Cascades since the last bounty was collected in 1947…

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