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ENDANGERED SPECIES — Trail camera photos confirm that Oregon’s famous wandering wolf, OR-7, has fathered at least two new pups.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist John Stephenson said Thursday that brings to seven the number of wolves in the Rogue pack, which lives on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in the Cascades of southwestern Oregon. That includes three pups from last year.
Biologists had confirmed the second set of pups last July, but didn’t know how many.
OR-7 became famous as his GPS collar tracked his travels across Oregon and into Northern California in search of a mate. That collar’s batteries have since died, and biologists have been unable to replace them.
Meanwhile, another collared wolf from OR-7s Imnaha pack has come to southwestern Oregon, and is living east of Klamath Marsh.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — OR-7, a wolf originally from northeast Oregon, may have found a mate in southwest Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reports.
In early May, remote cameras on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest captured several images of what appears to be a black female wolf in the same area where OR-7 is currently located. The images were found by wildlife biologists when they checked cameras on May 7.
The remote cameras were set up by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of ongoing cooperative wolf monitoring efforts. New images of OR-7 were also captured on the same cameras and can be accessed and viewed at ODFW’s wolf photo gallery (see first three images).
“This information is not definitive, but it is likely that this new wolf and OR-7 have paired up. More localized GPS collar data from OR-7 is an indicator that they may have denned,” said John Stephenson, Service wolf biologist. “If that is correct, they would be rearing pups at this time of year.”
The Service and ODFW probably won’t be able to confirm the presence of pups until June or later, the earliest pup surveys are conducted, so as not to disturb them at such a young age. Wolf pups are generally born in mid-April, so any pups would be less than a month old at this time.
If confirmed, the pups would mark the first known wolf breeding in the Oregon Cascades since the early 20th century.
Wolf OR7 is already well-known due to his long trek and his search for a mate—normal behavior for a wolf, which will leave a pack to look for new territory and for a chance to mate. “This latest development is another twist in OR-7’s interesting story,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator.
The Service and ODFW will continue to monitor the area to gather additional information on the pair and possible pups. That monitoring will include the use of remote cameras, DNA sample collection from scats found, and pup surveys when appropriate.
Wolves throughout Oregon are protected by the state Endangered Species Act. Wolves west of Oregon Highways 395-78-95, including OR-7 and the female wolf, are also protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, with the Service as the lead management agency.
At the end of last year, there were 64 known wolves in Oregon. Except for OR-7, most known wolves are in the northeast corner of the state.
OR-7 was born into northeast Oregon’s Imnaha wolf pack in April 2009 and collared by ODFW on Feb. 25, 2011. He left the pack in September 2011, traveled across Oregon and into California on Dec. 28, 2011, becoming the first known wolf in that state since 1924.
Other wolves have traveled further, and other uncollared wolves may have made it to California. But OR-7’s GPS collar, which transmits his location data several times a day, enabled wildlife managers to track him closely.
Since March 2013, OR-7 has spent the majority of his time in the southwest Cascades in an area mapped on ODFW’s website.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — People interested in the far-flung wanderings of Oregon’s celebrity wolf, OR-7, can keep up with his progress into other states on a new website.
The California Department of Fish and Game put up a map Friday showing the wolf’s path since leaving Oregon and heading into the Cascade Range of Northern California.
In the interests of the wolf’s safety, the department is delaying posting locations on the map by about a week.
The most recent one puts OR-7 about 35 miles south of Alturas, Calif., heading northeast toward Nevada.
The 2-year-old wolf was born in northeastern Oregon, and last September left his pack to seek out a mate and a new territory.
He crossed into California at the end of December and is the first wolf in California in more than 80 years.
ENDANGERED SPECIES — The young male wolf that has been traipsing about Oregon has made its way into Northern California, the first wolf to do so since 1924.
Details in this Los Angeles Times report, Oregon wolf makes its way to N. California.