Federal wildlife officials hope to complete an analysis before the end of the year that could decide whether wolves should still be considered "endangered", nationally.

Part of the US Fish and Wildlife Service's wolf analysis involves a closer look at the populations in Oregon and Washington. Joan Jewett is a spokeswoman for the agency's Pacific Region.

"We'll be looking to see if there were wolves in western Washington, Oregon, northern California into the Sierras, and western Nevada. We'd look at whether they were unique from the wolves in the rest of the northern Rocky Mountains," Jewett said.

Jewett says if they discover what are called "distinct" populations, then Fish and Wildlife could make separate recommendations on whether they should be put on the Endangered Species list.

Wolves are currently listed as "endangered" in western Oregon. But Oregon's resident wolves are in the eastern part of the state - where state, rather than federal, protections apply.

Officials from both Oregon and Washington told federal officials last year that federal protections aren't necessary in the two states, because state wolf plans are already in place.

This story originally appeared on Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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