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OSU researchers propose using federal land to boost wolf, beaver populations

The proposal suggests using federal land in 11 states, including Oregon and Washington, to increase populations for the benefit of our ecosystem.

PORTLAND, Ore. — A new proposal by a team of researchers could mean a population boom for wolves and beavers across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

The researchers, some of whom work at Oregon State University, want to see more of these animals on federal land. They say adding more beavers and wolves could help our ecosystem and make a positive impact on Earth's climate.

“We feel it is really important to bring back wolves and beavers to their historic range in the western United States,” said Bill Ripple, a professor of ecology at Oregon State University. 

Ripple is one of many researchers behind the proposal to use federal land in 11 states, including Oregon, Washington, California and Idaho, to improve habitats for both wolves and beavers. It would cover more than 310,000 square miles across parts of the West.

Fellow OSU researcher Bob Beschta said both animals play a big role in our climate. 

“You increase the plant diversity and when you do that, you’re increasing the capability for wildlife habitat for a wide range of species," said Beschta. 

He added that this plan would also help with declining populations of both wolves and beavers.

“They are at incredibly low numbers. This proposal really is an attempt to recover those numbers back to where we should be,” said Beschta.

Both researchers said the next step to move forward with the proposal would be to get political support. They said they work the science involved in this research, they can’t control the politics that would be involved because they would be working on federal land.

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