Photo Two wolf pups were caught on a trail camera on the Warm Springs reservation earlier this month, marking the first breeding pair in Oregon’s Northern Cascades since the animals returned to Oregon. (Courtesy/Wildlife Department BNR-Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs)

By Kale Williams

At least two wolf pups were observed on the southern flanks of Mount Hood earlier this month, marking the first time a breeding pair of Wolves has been seen in the northern Cascades since the endangered canids first returned to Oregon around a decade ago.

In pictures released by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Wednesday, the pups can be seen alongside one of their parents, known as the White River Wolves, one of the younger animals with its head craned curiously toward the camera.

The images were captured by a trail camera on the Warm Springs reservation August 10, officials said.

“Today, we let out a huge howl knowing that a wolf pack is rightly back on the landscape around iconic Mt. Hood after the species was systematically exterminated decades ago,” Josh Laughlin, Executive Director of Cascadia Wildlands, said in a statement.

After decades of hunting and trapping, wolves were extirpated from the Pacific Northwest by the middle of the 20th century and only returned to Oregon in 2009 after being reintroduced in Idaho and Wyoming.

As of the last count, in 2017, Oregon was home to a minimum of 124 wolves, mostly concentrated in the rugged northeast corner of the state.

Wolves in Oregon enjoy federal protection under the Endangered Species Act in the western half of the state, where the White River Wolves reside. East of highways 395/78/95, the animals are managed by the state and can be killed under certain conditions if they’ve been shown to repeatedly prey on livestock.

Their presence has become a source of contentious debate between environmental advocates and ranchers as the state has worked to update it management plan for the canids.

The next meeting where stakeholders are expected to discuss the plan is Thursday evening in The Dalles.

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