State biologists count 124 wolves, 11 percent increase

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Biologists in Oregon have counted 124 wolves in their annual tally, marking an 11 percent increase over last year's numbers.

The much-anticipated report also found a 38 percent increase in the number of breeding pairs in the state, where the species was once wiped out due to a bounty.

The count also tallied 13 wolf deaths in 2017, including those of four wolves that were killed illegally.

There are now so-called "resident wolves" in nine counties in southern and eastern Oregon.

Wolves were wiped out in Oregon until about 20 years ago; in 2009, there were only 14 counted statewide.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will review the report at a meeting in Astoria next week.

The annual wolf count is considered the minimum known wolf population.Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.