ODFW unleashed a torrent of wolf news today, including confirmation that at at least two more of Oregon’s packs have had pups, better figures on how many wolves are up in the Eagle Caps, news on a possible new group in the Sled Springs area of Wallowa County and DNA work done on scat and wolves in the state’s northeastern corner.
Previously the agency posted monthly wolf update PDFs to its Web site, but then switched to updating a page and sending out an email alert when new info was posted.
Today’s news includes links to video clips and photos.
Pups and wolf howling video for Snake River pack
The Snake River pack has at least three pups, a July 25, 2012 survey found. Photos taken by remote camera also show at least three adults in the pack.
During this survey in the Summit Ridge area of the Snake River wildlife management unit in Wallowa County, an ODFW employee also captured video footage of one of the pups howling and other members of the pack returning the howl. See the video here. Wolves are highly social animals and howling is a common behavior that helps packs communicate and stay together. Wolf howls can be heard from several miles away.
Umatilla River wolf pair have pups
ODFW surveys also confirmed that the Umatilla River wolf pair have pups. Multiple tracks were found during a summer survey but the exact number of pups is still unknown.
Imnaha pack pup count
The Imnaha Pack has at least six pups this year, a July 8 survey on US Forest Service lands southeast of Joseph found. There may be more pups but this is the most up-to-date number for the pack. (See photo of pups)
Eagle Cap Wilderness wolf
In late June, ODFW surveyed an area east of the Minam River in the Eagle Cap Wilderness after a remote camera took an image of a lactating female on June 4. At least three adult wolves were confirmed through tracks, scats and howls but no sign of pups was found. A later visit on July 19 found no wolf sign or remote camera photos, so the wolves are believed to have moved out of this immediate area.
Photo captured of wolf in Sled Springs Unit
An image of one wolf was taken by ODFW on July 20, 2012 in the Washboard Ridge area north of Enterprise (Sled Springs Wildlife Management Unit, Wallowa County). Tracks of two wolves were confirmed in this area over the winter and spring, so this may be an area of resident wolf activity.
Summary of genetic results from recently tested wolf samples in NE Oregon.
- A scat collected in the Chesnimnus unit (Devils Run area) on May 2, 2012 was from a wolf that was born in the Wenaha Pack. It is unknown if the wolf is resident in the Chesnimnus unit or was simply passing through the area. It is possible that this is the wolf using the Sled Springs unit (mentioned above).
- OR12 (Wenaha Pack, captured on April 2, 2012) is progeny of the Imnaha pack (OR2 and OR4). OR12 is believed to be the breeding male for the Wenaha Pack and ODFW is currently testing Wenaha pup scats to confirm.
- The pups captured and collared last fall in the Walla Walla Pack (OR10 and OR11) are full siblings and are not closely related to any other Oregon wolves sampled to date.