Friday, April 24, 2015

#Wolf spotted in Malheur County, OR

Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2015
VALE — A wolf with a tracking collar is roaming around Malheur County. Its last know location was south of Vale toward Owyhee Reservoir.
Though nobody outside Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife employees have reported seeing the wolf or reported a wolf kill, area ranchers have been advised so they can take necessary steps to protect their cattle.
The radio-collared male wolf is out of the Umatilla River pack in northeast Oregon and is in a “dispersion” pattern, looking for new territory, said Philip Milburn, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist.

ODFW has wolf program staff who nothing but work on wolves, he said. There are two of them, plus a district biologist, such as himself, who keep track of wolves in their respective areas, he said.
As the new visitor pointed south, Milburn was given a heads up. He’ll do the same for the next county once the wolf moves on. “He’s continued south in Malheur County, which is pretty unusual in our book,” Milburn said. “He’s out in the desert. Usually, they don’t spend a lot of time in that habitat. They usually head back to the timber area.”
At least, that’s what happened with the last radio-collared wolf that came through the area. It came across from Baker and headed west to Grant County, Milburn said.

Of course not all wolves in the area are so easy to track. “There are undoubtedly other wolves that followed that pattern that we were never aware of,” Milburn said. “We have very few radio-collared wolves in our state.”
The current visitor entered the county about April 10, having come through Baker County, but he hasn’t left yet.

The radio collars have GPS units built into them. Pending no steep canyons or any other complications, the units record the location two times a day.

Every day at about 7:50 a.m., Milburn can get online and see the wolf’s two most recent locations.
Milburn has seen the wolf. He spotted it early one morning after going to an area where the satellite kept picking him up in. But the gray wolf it is quite hard to see. “He’s not just standing around waiting for pictures,” he said.
Milburn encourages anyone who sees a wolf to take a photo and report it to ODFW. “They don’t really pose a threat to people from what we’ve seen in reintroductions in the West,” he said. “You might just count yourself lucky if you see a wolf. They are probably the rarest animal you’re going to spot in Oregon.”
ODFW relies heavily on its online reporting system to watch for repeat sightings, Milburn said. “That’s how we’ve discovered quite a few packs,” he said.
The more detail provided, the better, he said. “We keep expecting him to leave,” Milburn said, but the wolf has been finding food.