SALEM, Ore. (AP) – State officials say a new group of wolves is living in the southern Oregon Cascade mountains.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Thursday that wolf activity has been reported by people in Douglas and Lane counties for several years and that in late 2018 biologists found wolf tracks.

Cameras captured images of three wolves on Feb. 20 in the Umpqua National Forest.

Officials have designated the area as a new area of known wolf activity. Wildlife managers so far have little data about the new group and say more surveys are needed.

The species has been making comeback after being wiped out 70 years ago by a bounty-hunting program.

Wolves lost endangered status under Oregon law in 2015 – when the state’s population hit 81 wolves – and are no longer federally protected in the eastern third of the state.

As of early 2018, there were at least 124 wolves in Oregon.

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