Oregon Public Broadcasting

Washington State's Department of Fish and Wildlife has released its annual survey of the state's wolf population.

There are now three successful breeding pairs and at least 27 wolves in Washington.

A successful breeding pair means a mom, dad and at least two pups that make it past 6 months old. Gray wolves are listed on the state and federal endangered species list.

Washington recently adopted a monitoring and management plan for wolves here. It calls for 15 successful breeding pairs to be established before wolves can be removed from the state endangered species list.

Rocky Beach is with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

"We're a ways away from meeting the goals of recovery but we've only had wolves in the state that we could confirm here for about three years so we're doing alright," Beach said.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has about 130,000 dollars set aside to compensate livestock owners whose animals are killed by wolves.

"At this point we haven't had a lot of problems yet, knock on wood. So I think we'll be fine for a couple of years here providing we don't have a lot of depredation issues," Beach said.

Right now there are five packs in Washington.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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