The state Department of Fish and Wildlife reported Saturday its yearly count of gray wolves living in Washington state found 52 of the predators, one more than at the end of 2012.

The count also found five successful breeding pairs at the end of 2013, the same number as reported in the 2012 count.

Wolves have been a controversial topic ever since they have returned to the state much faster than expected in the past several years.

In 2008, there were only a handful of wolves. In March 2013, there were an estimated 50 to 100 animals in 10 confirmed packs, all in central and eastern Washington.

Wolves are listed as endangered throughout Washington under state law and as endangered in the western two-thirds of the state under federal law.