A 2-year old male wolf originally from a pack in northeastern Oregon has migrated more than 300 miles. The wolf, code-named Oregon-7, crossed the Cascades and traveled into the Umpqua River drainage in the state’s southwestern region last week. It’s the first confirmed record of a wolf in Western Oregon since a campaign to exterminate the species ended in 1946.
Oregon-7 is wearing a GPS device that sends location data to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“We received location data from (the wolf) today, but it doesn’t capture his real-time location,” said Michelle Dennehy, a spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The latest location we have for him is in northeast Douglas county, in the Cascades.”
The wolf is one of several collared youngsters from eastern Oregon’s Imnaha pack that are dispersing to search for new territory and mates. Dennehy says the other three dispersing wolves from the pack have traveled to Idaho, Washington, and central Oregon.
credit:Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
John Stephenson is the wolf coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Oregon. He says in the past, he’s found tracks in the snow in the Oregon cascades he thinks were left by a wolf. But he’s never been able to confirm a sighting. Stephenson says there’s a chance that Oregon-7 and the other dispersing members of the Imnaha pack may lead scientists to a few individual wolves they haven’t been able to locate yet.
“They’re dispersing to find a new territory but they’re also a pack animal so they’re also searching for a mate. We’ll see if they find one or not. They would be more effective at finding a lone wolf out there on the landscape than we’re able to do. “
Congress recently voted to end Endangered Species Act protection for the Rocky Mountain gray wolf. The federal de-listing has enabled ranchers in eastern Oregon to obtain permits allowing them to shoot wolves they catch in the act of harming livestock.
But gray wolves in the western half of Oregon and Washington are still federally listed as endangered. U.S. Fish and Wildlife service is evaluating whether wolves in that region constitute a distinct population and merit a recovery plan Two wolf packs have been confirmed in the Cascades in Washington. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says it will finish its status review early next year.
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