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The Recovery of Gray Wolves in the Pacific Northwest

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By Noah Dolinajec
The Reargaurd

“To see wolves in the Cascade Mountains, it’s something I never thought I would see,” said Jasmine Minbashian, the lead operator of Conservation Northwest’s wolf recovery efforts.

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With the help of federal funding and protection, conservation programs In Washington and Oregon have made massive strides in recent years in regards to the recovery of the gray wolf. A recent public seminar lead by Conservation Northwest in Yakima, Washington pertaining to the stability of wolf populations in Washington and Oregon Wild’s (Oregon’s premier wildlife conservation organization) big breakthrough of finding very active female wolves in the summer of 2012 in Eastern Oregon, has shown the immense progress of recovery. The recovery seems to be on a pace that no biologist guessed it could have. In 2010, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Deputy who remained nameless stated that although he was hopeful for wolves in his state that he did not feel confident about their ability to survive. To his liking, he has thus far been proved wrong by the determination of scientists in the Northwest and the resilient nature of the gray wolf.

Current Status of Wolves in the Northwest

As of the 2012 preliminary counts for each state, wolf populations made a huge jump this year with breeding seasons being successful in both Washington and Oregon. Washington state wildlife officials have suggested that there are nine to ten packs, supporting approximately one hundred animals that will be confirmed this year, three of which reside in the vital battleground area of the Cascade Mountain range. Oregon, the only other state with strict state and federal wolf protection laws has also seen a positive jump in the number of packs and animals residing permanently within state lines. According to Oregonwild.com, Oregon Wild employees have confirmed fifty-eight animals, including this year’s pups living in five to six packs in Eastern Oregon. Biologists are stunned at the rate of success wolves are having all of sudden in the two states. “To see wolves in the Cascade Mountains, it’s something I never thought I would see.” said Jasmine Minbashian, the lead operator of Conservation Northwest’s wolf recovery efforts and the star of the BBC documentary Land of the Lost Wolves which aired in April of 2012.

Conservationists vs. Ranchers and Hunters

Minbashian was one of three members that spoke recently at a public seminar held in Yakima, Washington supported by Conservation Northwest and Yakima Valley Community College’s ecology department. The other speakers consisted of Conservation Northwest Okanagon Valley Outreach Associate Jay Kehne and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife wolf biologist Scott Becker. The seminar included special clips from the two-part BBC film and a post-film discussion panel open to questions from the public.

 

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