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Rogue Pack is growing
At least one new pup joins first wolf pack in Western Oregon
John Stephenson, wolf coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), said biologists found some small wolf scat earlier this month, indicating one or more pups were present near the pair’s den site. But it wasn’t until the photographic evidence emerged Tuesday that he could confirm at least one gray pup has been born.“We’re not sure how many pups they have this year, just that they have some,” Stephenson said.
According to a USFWS news release, trail camera images have also confirmed the three pups born to OR-7 and his mate in 2014 have survived the winter and are still united. The five wolves were christened the Rogue Pack — Western Oregon’s first wolf pack — in January.The agency has released a time-lapsed video showing two of the 2014 offspring, which are now full size, recently playing together the morning of June 24. Find the video here: http://www.fws.gov/ oregonfwo/. OR-7 gained notoriety as a 2-year-old gray wolf, who, after being fitted with a GPS radio collar in 2011, dispersed from the Northeastern Oregon Imnaha Pack and traveled hundreds of miles across Oregon. He became the first confirmed wolf sighted west of the Cascades since 1937, and made several jaunts into Northern California before settling in along the Klamath-Jackson county line.
After OR-7 and mate produced pups last spring, the female was confirmed as a descendent of Northeast Oregon’s Snake River and Minam packs.Two of the three 2014 pups were introduced to the world in a USFWS photograph that showed their furry faces peeking from a hollowed out log. The pups, which were born in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, are now about 14 months old and considered adult-size yearlings.
The newly released USFWS video shows what the pups in the log look like today, Stephenson said.According to Stephenson, wolves in search of new territory or a mate usually begin dispersing from their birth pack at around one and a half years old.
“Potentially this fall one or more pups might take off and disperse, but they may not,” Stephenson said.Although the batterydriven GPS component of the collar that allowed wildlife managers to track OR-7 across Oregon and into California has stopped working, biologists are still able to draw a location on the pack leader using a variable frequency signal that can be tracked by a directional antenna.
Attempts to recollar OR-7, or to fit other pack members with collar, have been unsuccessful. Stephenson said biologists plan to wait until the pack’s new pups are older before trying again later this summer.OR-25
According to John Muir, assistant district wildlife biologist for the ODFW Klamath Falls office, another lone wolf tracked in early June to Klamath County is still in the region.The 2-year-old male gray wolf, designated OR-25, left the Imnaha pack — the same pack OR-7 disbursed from — in early April.
Last month, OR-25’s GPS collar sent several signals indicating he was on or near the 5,000-acre Yamsi Ranch, located at the headwaters of the Williamson River. Since then, OR-25 has ventured about 20 miles north and further south, but has repeatedly circled back and mostly remained in the ranch’s vicinity.“He’s kind of wagon wheeling around from that spot,” Muir said.
OR-25’s tendency to stay near the ranch is not an indication he has denned with a female because denning season has passed, according to Muir. He said the wolf is likely gravitating to a food source.“In spite of the fact he’s localized since he’s showed up, there’s no reason to think he’s going to stay there,” Muir said.
No conflicts with humans or domestic animals have been reported.Paul Henson, state Supervisor for the Oregon USFWS office, said it’s exciting to see the momentum in wolf recovery in Oregon in such a relatively short time period.
“Not only is the Rogue Pack growing, but wolves have been dispersing into several new areas this spring and summer,” Henson said. “The (USFWS) has been, and continues to be, committed to working with livestock producers to lessen any impact of wolf recovery on their livelihoods.Keno Unit
Biologists have been unsuccessful in locating evidence of two uncollared wolves spotted in the Keno Unit, west of Klamath Falls, in January. “We have not had any sign or indication of them for quite some time,” Muir said. Although the wolves seem to have vanished, biologists have remained diligent about locating the them, regularly scouting for scat and tracks, and checking the unit’s trail cameras weekly.Muir said no evidence has appeared to confirm whether the two canids are the same sex, a denning male-female pair or siblings traveling together. The two could have also been traveling separately through the unit at the same time.
Since gray wolves began returning to Oregon in the late 1990s, the ODFW has documented 77 wolves among nine packs, including eight breeding pairs. As of January 2015, the state’s conservation population objective of four breeding pairs for three consecutive years was reached.The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission is expected to consider removing gray wolves from the list of state endangered species this fall. Gray wolves in Oregon are still federally protected west of highways 395-78-95.
ljarrell@heraldandnews . com; @LMJatHandN
Using photographic evidence from trail cameras, biologists have visually confirmed OR-7 has fathered at least one new pup this year.
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Page Updated: Monday July 13, 2015 01:09 AM Pacific
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