Information provided by the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Office
Wolf OR7 and a mate have produced offspring in southwest Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, wildlife biologists confirmed this week. In early May, biologists suspected that OR7, originally from northeast Oregon, had a mate in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest when remote cameras captured several images of what appeared to be a black female wolf in the same area.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) biologists returned to the area Monday, June 2 and observed two pups. Scat samples from the area have been collected and submitted to a laboratory for DNA analysis, which will take several weeks.
An image of the two pups can be seen at ODFW’s wolf photo gallery. It is likely there are more pups as wolf litters typically number four to six pups.
The pups mark the first known wolf reproduction in the Oregon Cascades since the mid-1940s. “This is very exciting news,” said Paul Henson, state supervisor of the Oregon U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office. “It continues to illustrate that gray wolves are being recovered.”
Wolves throughout Oregon are protected by the state Endangered Species Act. Wolves west of Oregon Highways 395, 78 and 95 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. Most known wolves are in the northeast corner of the state.
OR7 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, travelled across Oregon and into California on Dec. 28, 2011, becoming the first known wolf in that state since 1924.
Other wolves have travelled further, and other uncollared wolves may have made it to California. But OR7’s GPS collar, which transmits his location data several times a day, enabled wildlife managers to track him closely.
Since March 2013, OR7 has spent the majority of his time in the southwest Cascades in an area mapped on ODFW’s website.