But wolf conservationists also know all too well the current, persisting threats facing these animals. "I am cautiously optimistic they will do well," Fahy added. "I wish I could say the same for the rest of Oregon."
While these pups are protected, in other regions, like the eastern part of the state, wolves are in competition with the ranching industry for land — with sometimes fatal consequences for the wolves. "Hunting wolves to control their population only creates more problems through social disruption of the pack," Fahy said.
Sometimes the state itself allows the killing of wolves, even though they've only recently come back. "Just last week, ODFW reissued a kill permit to a rancher in Wallowa County who lost a calf to wolves, allowing him to shoot one wolf from the Chesnimnus pack on his public land grazing allotment," Howell said. "This brings up very a serious question — should Oregon be allowed to kill wolves on America's public lands to benefit the profit margins of a private business?"