By Courtney Sherwood PORTLAND, Ore. (Reuters) – Oregon's once decimated gray wolf population has rebounded to at least 77 animals, and the wolves are now pairing off and breeding across a wide region, state officials with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said on Wednesday. Gray wolves, native to Oregon but wiped out in the state by an eradication campaign in the early 20th century, first returned there in 2008 and have now spread out to multiple parts of the Pacific Northwest state. “The wolf population continues to grow and expand, and for the first time we’ve had wolf reproduction in southern Oregon,” said Michelle Dennehy, spokeswoman for the state wildlife department. We also documented six new pairs of wolves, and 26 pups.” But as population growth triggers a review of state Endangered Species Act restrictions on harassing or killing wolves that threaten livestock, conservationists cautioned it remained too early to celebrate the species’ recovery.
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