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Environment

Divide Deepens Over Treatment of Wolves

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The fragile comeback of wolves to Oregon is deepening a cultural divide over how much protection they need.

With 81 adult gray wolves now calling Oregon home, wildlife officials have recommended taking them off the state's list of protected animals. They'll vote on the recommendation Monday.

Oregon has been considered a model for wolf management, due to its emphasis on non-lethal methods to deter the animals from killing livestock. But, ranchers say nonlethal deterrence doesn't work and want more leeway to kill wolves.

Environmentalists warn 81 wolves isn't a viable population and the animals could again disappear.

The fight in Oregon is playing out in the context of wolf recovery in other western states, where wolves were successfully reintroduced, but are now killed by the thousands after being stripped of protections.

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