Published: Thursday, August 30, 2012
State biologists spotted
two gray-colored adult wolves and their pups on Aug. 25 in the Upper
Minam River drainage, said Michelle Dennehy, an Oregon Department of
Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman.
litter is the fifth documented this year in northeastern Oregon,
bringing the number of new wolf pups for the year to 23 in the state,
That adds to the 29 known wolves in Oregon counted by the end of 2011.
"Now, we will be monitoring them through the end of the year to see how many pups survive," Dennehy said.
state could be on the cusp of achieving a major goal of its Oregon Wolf
Management Plan: four breeding pairs of gray wolves for three
consecutive years east of the Cascades. Achieving that objective could
start the process to delist the gray wolf from the Oregon Endangered
Species Act, Dennehy said.
Irregular reports of wolves roaming
along the Minam River have come to ODFW biologists for several years,
she said. A vacationing Idaho biologist reported finding wolf scat there
while archery hunting six years ago.
biologists have closely monitored the Minam River since a photo of a
black lactating female wolf was taken there June 4. But the newly
discovered adult wolves and pups are all gray and appear unrelated to
the lactating female, Dennehy said.
Oregon's wolf numbers have
steadily grown in recent years, with adult wolves in the Imnaha, Wenaha,
Walla Walla, Snake River, Sled Springs and now Minam River packs, plus
at least two adult wolves in the Mount Emily Game Management Unit
between Pendleton and La Grande.
Additionally, biologists have
confirmed two separate wolf packs in the Sled Springs game management
unit. They also captured and radio-collared a 49-pound male pup Aug. 2
in the Snake River Pack.