Saturday, August 13, 2011
Two Imnaha pack wolves disperse
Oregon's wildlife agency confirmed Monday that two adult members of the Imnaha wolf pack have left Wallowa County.
Both wolves in question are outfitted with tracking collars, according to an Aug. 8 press release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife-ODFW.
Using radio telemetry, the agency located a 3-year-old male wolf, OR-3 (so named because he was the third wolf collared in Oregon), southeast of Fossil in Wheeler County on July 30. ODFW had last detected his whereabouts May 10 north of Wallowa, where he had been captured in a video.
Now west of the boundary formed by highways 395, 78 and 95, OR-3 is in that part of the state where wolves are protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.
A second collared wolf, 2-year-old male OR-9, swam across Brownlee Reservoir into Idaho on July 18, ODFW's release stated. The Oregon agency notified wildlife managers in Idaho about the wolf's presence.
This brings to three the number of wolves known to have dispersed from the Imnaha pack. OR-5, a female, went to Washington state last winter when she was a year-and-a-half old.
ODFW does not have evidence that any of these three collared wolves (OR-3, OR-5, OR-9) have joined a new wolf pack yet.
Other uncollared members of the Imnaha pack may have dispersed with the radio-collared wolves or gone their separate ways.
ODFW noted that the Imnaha pack had at least one pup this year. Video footage captured July 16 by an ODFW employee show a black-colored pup traveling with the Imnaha pack's alpha female, the pup's mother. So far, photographs and visual observations have turned up only one pup for the Imnaha pack this year, but more pups may be found.
The latest observations and data suggest the Imnaha pack now has four adult wolves (three of them collared), plus the new pup.
Trail cameras also captured images of four adult wolves from the Wenaha pack traveling in the Wenaha unit of the northern Blue Mountains area during the summer. No pups were seen on the footage. ODFW will continue to monitor this pack for pups and try to collar the pack's members.