“We actually found these wolves as we do many others, by remote trail camera footage,” Michelle Dennehy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said. “We were seeing two wolves, and then we got a photo of two pups.”
Dennehy says they are called the North Mount Emily wolves. They will qualify as a pack if the two pups survive through the end of the year. The Umatilla River Pack no longer exists, as its members dispersed to other packs. Dennehy says biologists speculate that the pack was led by an alpha male wolf who was very old, and could have died.
There’s also a new group of four wolves in Wallowa County, and research into those wolves have indicated to ODFW that the Imnaha Pack has been wiped out. ODFW took lethal action against the pack following several acts of depredation against livestock.
“We believe that the entire pack was removed,” Dennehy said. “We had a chronic depredation situation. We weren’t sure if maybe there were some left, but we now believe the entire pack was removed.”
What led ODFW to that conclusion is that there are at least four wolves living on the traditional winter home range of the Imnaha Pack. One of those wolves, a 10-month-old male, was collared and tested. That wolf showed no lineage to the Imnaha Pack.
Dennehy said biologists continue to study the two new groups of wolves.