Wolves confirmed in Mount Hood National Forest

After years of whispers and reported sightings, wildlife officials have confirmed at least two wolves caught on trail cameras earlier this month roaming the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon’s northern Cascade Mountains.

It is the first time multiple wolves were detected in the area since the species returned to Oregon in the late 1990s. Conservationists cheered the news Wednesday, while local ranchers anticipated further conflict with their livestock.

Because they are located west of highways 395, 78 and 95, management of the wolves falls to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Wolves remain a federally listed endangered species in Western Oregon.

John Stephenson, wildlife biologist and Oregon wolf coordinator for the USFWS, said the presence of wolves near Mount Hood comes as no surprise. For years, Stephenson said there have been frequent wolf sightings and documentation of dispersers from other packs in northeast Oregon.

“Now there’s two, and they’ve been there for a while now,” Stephenson said. “We’ll probably attempt to get a collar on one of them at some point and collect scat so we can figure out where they came from.”

The executive director of the Eugene-based environmental group Cascadia Wildlands, said it is heartening to see gray wolves continuing to reoccupy historic territories across the Northwest after they were nearly exterminated.

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