Outdoors blog

Wolves moving, keeping biologists on alert

A Smackout Pack male wolf, known as WA-017M, was captured by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff and fitted with a GPS collar on May 28,2012. It weighed 90 pounds. (Washington Fish and Wildlife Department)
A Smackout Pack male wolf, known as WA-017M, was captured by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife staff and fitted with a GPS collar on May 28,2012. It weighed 90 pounds. (Washington Fish and Wildlife Department)

ENDANGERED SPECIES -- Wolves are roaming, forming new packs, popping pups and generally keeping Washington and Oregon wildlife managers on full alert this spring.

A black male wolf caught last year from the Smackout Pack and collared in far northeastern Washington was reported recently 300 miles northwest of Oroville. ("Spread the wealth!" some folks are saying.)

This roamer known as WA-O17M is causing a rustle among DNA researchers who are having to bite their tongues a bit on the conventional theory that there's a distinct population of coastal gray wolves in British Columbia. The discussion is chronicled in this analysis by Andy Walgamott of Northwest Sportsman.

Meanwhile, Washington is beefing up its crew of wolf specialsts who are trying to locate and put radio collars on members of wolf packs they currently have no way of monitoring, including the new Wenatchee Pack.  They have not been successful at last report. And there's still no confirmation of a pack on the Washington side of the Blue Mountains.

OREGON wolf specialists also are going full steam, with better success at collaring wolves.  Recent developments include:

New policy on using lethal control on wolves depradating livestock, hammered out with cattlemen and environmental groups.

New pair of wolves in Mount Emily Unit, documented in early April in Union County. 

Minam Pack female collared on May 16. The 81-pound wolf is the first radio-collared wolf in this pack, which was discovered last year hanging out mostly within the Eagle Cap Wilderness. This marks the 20th radio-collared wolf in Oregon.

Cattle depredations by Imnaha pack on May 15. A yearling cow was confirmed by ODFW to have been killed, with two of the pack's collared wolves present. A calf was attacked but survived. These are the third and fourth confirmed wolf depredation incidents by the Imnaha Pack in 2013. 

Sheep depredation in northern Umatilla County on May 21 involving at least one member of the Umatilla Pack. ODFW confirmed six  sheep were depredated by wolves which resulted in four dead.  Evidence gathered showed a similar pattern of attack as the depredation events in 2012 in this same general area. 




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Rich Landers
Rich Landers writes and photographs stories for a wide range of outdoors coverage, including a Sunday feature section and a Thursday column. He also writes the Outdoors Blog.

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