MEDFORD, Ore. (AP) — Biologists plan to recapture and re-collar OR-7, Oregon's famous wandering wolf that is now a settled father of pups. The plan calls for recapturing the male wolf along with his mate and three pups to keep tracking Western Oregon's only known wolf family as it works its way toward pack status, The Medford Mail Tribune reported Sunday.
set off in search of a mate in September 2011, covering thousands of
meandering miles from his birthplace in northeastern Oregon to Northern
California before settling in southwest Oregon. The wolf gained
worldwide fame as his GPS tracking collar showed his wanderings across
mountains, deserts and highways.
A federal biologist plans to set
foot-hold snares in the area of eastern Jackson County in hopes of
capturing at least one of the animals so it can be fitted with a
GPS-transmitting collar similar to the one used to track OR-7's
3,000-mile journey that led him here. "It's kind of the luck of
the draw in who you can get," says John Stephenson, a U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service biologist tracking OR-7 from his Bend office. "It will
probably end up one of the pups because they're the most curious."
and federal biologists have active GPS collars on 12 wolves, and 28
have been collared in Oregon since 2009, one year after the first known
wolf migrated from Idaho into Oregon, according to Michelle Dennehy,
spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's Wolf
Oregon updates its wolf population data at the end of
December, and last year's end-of-the-year count showed 64 known wolves,
Oregon has eight known packs, as well as individual
wolves and a new group of wolves discovered last month 30 miles north of
Enterprise, Dennehy added. Collared animals are in all but two packs
and the newly discovered group, she said. "Having at least one per
pack really helps with monitoring," Dennehy says. "Recollaring OR-7
will help track this group of wolves."
Not only are the devices
used for locating and tracking the packs, they can also help biologists
determine breeding success. OR-7's GPS coordinates helped lead to
photographs of his mate and pups earlier this year. Knowing their
locations also allows the agency to warn farmers and ranchers when a
pack is close to them, and the coordinates can be used to verify
predation loss, Dennehy said.
Since he was collared, OR-7 has
never been associated with livestock depredation, though his former pack
was involved in livestock predation before and after he was collared,
Right now, OR-7 and his family are considered a
group of wolves. The definition for a pack is four or more wolves
traveling together in winter, she added. They will not be considered an official breeding pair until at least one of the new pups survives through December. "Often we don't make those distinctions until winter," she said.