Eastern Oregon enters Phase III of wolf management Eight breeding pairs documented
Snake River pack captured by a remote camera photo taken 2/1/2017 in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area.
- ODFW Photo -
SALEM, Ore.—Eastern Oregon is now in Phase III of wolf management after ODFW staff documented a third year of seven or more breeding pairs in the region east of U.S. Highways 97, 20, 395 for year 2016.
A “breeding pair” is two adult wolves that produce at least two pups that survive through the end of the year. The eight packs that qualify as breeding pairs in 2016 are Meacham and Walla Walla (Umatilla County), Catherine (Union County), and Snake River, Chesnimnus, Wenaha, Minam and a group of unnamed wolves in the Imnaha Wildlife Management Unit (Wallowa County).
“Moving into Phase III is a significant milestone towards the recovery of gray wolves in Oregon,” says Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf biologist. “It shows how successful wolves can be in this state – in just nine years under existing management we have gone from no packs of wolves to multiple packs and an expanding distribution.”
In addition to counting wolves, ODFW biologists have placed 14 radio-collars on wolves this winter in seven groups. Another milestone was reached on Feb. 24 when OR50 was collared in the Imnaha Wildlife Management Unit, marking the 50th wolf collared in Oregon. Biologists may soon learn more from the DNA and radio-collar data about whether OR50 is part of a new group of wolves or a pack that shifted its home range into the area previously occupied by the Imnaha pack.
ODFW completes its annual year-end survey of wolves and announces the results in its 2016 Wolf Annual Report. The report is set to be presented to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on April 21 in Klamath Falls.
Western Oregon remains in Phase I of wolf management, with protections that match those implemented when wolves were listed as state endangered. Wolves also remain listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act west of U.S. Highways 395, 78, 95.
Under the current Wolf Conservation and Management Plan, Phase III continues to focus on conservation of wolves while addressing instances of wolf-human conflict. This includes continuing to emphasize the use of non-lethal deterrents, the use of controlled take in certain situations, and expands livestock producer options for investigating potential wolf depredations of livestock.
The current Plan states that controlled take of wolves can be allowed in two specific circumstances: 1) if wolves are determined to be causing declines in ungulate populations such as deer and elk or 2) in specific cases of chronic livestock depredation.
“These Phase III provisions do not replace good faith efforts at non-lethal solutions to wolf conflicts,” Morgan says. “Take of wolves can only be considered as a management response in very specific situations and there are no plans for controlled take at this time.”
As we move into Phase III, the current Plan allows either ODFW or USDA Wildlife Services to confirm wolf depredations in Eastern Oregon. The Plan also allows USDA Wildlife Services to continue to assist ODFW with wolf damage management using the skills and experience of both agencies. Lethal removal of wolves for specific cases of chronic depredation will be decided by ODFW and will continue to be based on a rigorous evidence-based investigation process. USDA Wildlife Services will not assist in the lethal removal of wolves or expand its role in depredation investigations (including confirming wolf depredations) until it has evaluated its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act.
ODFW staff are currently working on a routine five-year Wolf Plan review and will present the draft, updated Wolf Plan to the Commission at their April 21 meeting, though final action on the plan is not expected to occur until later in the year.
March 2, 2017
Wolf dies in unintentional take in northeast Oregon
SALEM, Ore.—Wolf OR48, a Shamrock Pack adult male, was found dead on Feb. 26 on private land in northeast Oregon after an unintentional take by the US Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services.
The wolf died after encountering an M-44 device, a spring-activated device containing cyanide powder. The device was in place as part of Wildlife Services operations to control coyotes and prevent coyote-livestock conflict on private land in northeast Oregon.
“The death of this wolf shows the risk involved when wolves are in areas where Wildlife Services conducts these types of operations,” said Doug Cottam, ODFW Wildlife Division administrator. “This is a situation we take seriously and we’ll be working with Wildlife Services with the goal of preventing it from happening again.”
ODFW and Wildlife Services are evaluating the incident and discussing how to prevent unintentional capture or take of wolves while addressing livestock damage problems.
“Wildlife Services’ specialists care about wildlife and work hard to prevent the unintentional take of animals when addressing human-wildlife conflicts,” said Dave Williams, state director for USDA Wildlife Services in Oregon. “We have begun an internal review of this incident to see if any changes to our procedures are necessary.”
Wolf OR48 was collared on Feb. 10 of this year in Wallowa County and was part of the Shamrock Wolf Pack. At the time of collaring, he weighed over 100 pounds and was estimated to be just under two years old. Wolf OR48 was not the breeding male of the pack.
Annual Report, Draft Management Plan before Commission in April 2017
ODFW staff will present their 2016 Wolf Annual Report and a draft updated Wolf Management Plan to the Commission at their April 21 meeting in Klamath Falls.
Extreme weather in parts of northeast Oregon has delayed field work, including fixed-wing and helicopter flights and on-the-ground surveys of wolves. ODFW staff need additional time to complete their counts. For this reason, the 2016 Wolf Annual Report, which includes an updated wolf population count and number of breeding pairs, has been delayed from its usual March release date.
ODFW staff will also present a Draft updated version of the Oregon Wolf Management and Conservation Plan at the Commission’s April 21 meeting. The Wolf Plan undergoes a routine review every five years. The presentation will be informational only; the Commission is not expected to adopt a final updated Plan until later in the year. In-person public testimony will be taken at the meeting or send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org Comments received by April 4 will be included in the Commission information packet.
PORTLAND, Ore. — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for killing a federally protected gray wolf in south-central Oregon. On Oct. 6, 2016, a radio collared female gray wolf known as OR28 was found dead in the Fremont-Winema National Forest near Summer Lake, Oregon.
It is a violation of the Endangered Species Act to kill a gray wolf, which is listed as endangered in the western two-thirds of Oregon. The incident is being investigated by the Oregon State Police and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The wolf’s carcass is currently at the Service’s National Forensics Laboratory for a necropsy.
Anyone with information about this case should call the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service at (503) 682-6131, or Oregon State Police Tip Line at (800) 452-7888. Callers may remain anonymous.
OR3 and a pup of the Silver Lake wolves. Remote camera image taken June 22, 2016 in western Lake County, courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Download high resolution image.
July 28, 2016
Pups for Rogue Pack and new Silver Lake wolves
ODFW and USFWS have confirmed that OR3 (an eight-year-old male originally from the Imnaha pack) has paired up with OR28, a three-year-old GPS radio-collared female originally from the Mt Emily pack. Based on remote camera images, the two are believed to have produced at least one pup in 2016. They are primarily using the Silver Lake Wildlife Management Unit in western Lake County and have been dubbed the Silver Lake wolves. (A group of wolves is designated a pack when there is evidence of a minimum of four wolves traveling together in winter.)
Wolf OR3 dispersed from northeast Oregon’s former Imnaha Pack in 2011, just a few months before more well-known wolf OR7. But unlike OR7, OR3 had a VHS collar not a GPS collar. VHF collars do not automatically transmit location information and wildlife managers lost track of him after the fall of 2011. OR3 made a brief reappearance on a trail camera in the Cascades in northern Klamath County in summer 2015. His radio-collar is no longer functional. It is unknown if OR3 bred before this year.
Other wolf activity in SW Oregon includes the Rogue Pack, the Keno wolves, and 2 radio-collared wolves (OR25 & OR33). Reproduction has also been confirmed in 2016 for the Rogue Pack, with remote camera photos of two pups. Occasional remote camera photos of wolves are captured in the Keno AKWA. Biologists will continue monitoring activities to learn more about these wolves. OR25 (Klamath Co) and OR33 (Klamath and Jackson Co) are both males dispersed from the Imnaha Pack and are each believed to be traveling alone.
Oregon’s known wolf population continued to grow in 2015. The minimum Oregon wolf population is now 110 wolves, a 36 percent increase over the 2014 population.
ODFW released the 2015 Wolf Report today, after completing late-winter surveys to establish how many wolf packs had bred and the minimum known number of wolves for the year 2015. The department uses hard evidence (tracks, sign, remote camera footage, visual observations) when counting wolves and that is why the population figures are referred to as a minimum known population. Wildlife biologists believe the actual number of wolves is likely higher.
ODFW documented 11 breeding pairs of wolves in 2015, up from nine last year. A breeding pair is an adult male and female wolf that produce at least two pups which survive through the end of the year. (Pups are born in mid-April each year.) Reproduction was confirmed in 14 groups of wolves, and 33 pups born in 2015 are known to have survived through Dec. 31. ODFW also documented three new pairs of wolves. Known wolf groups occurred in parts of Baker, Grant, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa counties.
“As predicted, Oregon’s wolf population has continued to expand its range and grow in number,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator. “While northeast Oregon continues to have the highest number of wolves, there is also continued movement of wolves into southern Oregon.”
The rate of depredation of livestock by wolves decreased in 2015 despite the increase in wolf population. ODFW investigations confirmed nine incidents of wolves killing livestock and two probable incidents. A total of 10 sheep, three calves and one working dog were killed by wolves, and another two calves and one lamb were injured. This is down from 11 confirmed incidents and 32 livestock (2 cattle and 30 sheep) lost last year.
A total of 29 percent of Oregon wolf packs were involved in livestock depredation. The majority of depredations (77%) occurred on private land and most happened during the months of May, June, August, September. The Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Wolf Depredation Compensation and Financial Assistance program distributed $174,428 in grants to 10 counties to proactively address wolf-livestock conflict and compensate landowners who lost animals to wolves. Most funds were used for preventative measures ($119,390) and for direct payment ($14,018) to livestock producers for confirmed losses.
While no wolves were killed by ODFW, agents or landowners due to livestock depredation, ODFW documented seven wolf mortalities in 2015. A five-month-old pup was found dead in the Catherine Pack rendezvous area and appeared to die of natural causes. One wolf that died had a rodent in its stomach and the wolf tested positive for a chemical that is poisonous to animals. The cause of the death of the Sled Springs breeding male and female found dead in August is unknown. Three wolves were illegally shot.
A Baker City man pled guilty to shooting one of the wolves and was fined $2,000 and ordered to forfeit his rifle to the state. The other cases involving illegal activity are still open and anyone with information should call Oregon State Police.
ODFW continued its efforts to monitor Oregon’s wolf population by collaring an additional eight wolves over the year. At the end of 2015 there were collars on 11 percent of Oregon’s wolf population.
In early November 2015, a 2-year-old radio-collared female wolf dispersed from the Mt Emily pack in Umatilla County. By Nov. 19, OR28 had arrived into the area she has continued to use in the Fort Rock and Silver Lake Wildlife Management Units (WMU) of Klamath and Lake County. ODFW has designated an Area of Known Wolf Activity (AKWA) and has evidence that at least one other wolf is using the area.
In December, OR25 left the AKWA he had been using, traveled south through Oregon and visited California. OR25 has now returned to the same area in Klamath County.
ODFW has designated a new AKWA for a pack in NE Oregon. The Chesnimnus pair previously used the Chesnimnus WMU in Wallowa County. In 2015, the pair denned in the Sled Springs WMU and has not returned to the Chesnimnus WMU. Moving forward the new pack will be named the Shamrock Pack.
AKWAs are created where and when wolves repeatedly use an area over time and become established. To help minimize potential wolf-livestock conflict, livestock producers are encouraged to use preventive measures within AKWAs. More information regarding preventative measures.
November 12, 2015 –Wolves delisted under Oregon ESA – No changes in wolf management
Earlier this week, ODFW filed rules with the Oregon Secretary of State that removed wolves from the state Endangered Species List in keeping with the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s decision on Monday, Nov. 9.
The Commission’s decision changed the wolf’s ESA status but it has no other immediate effect on wolf management in Oregon. Wolves are still protected by the Wolf Plan and its associated rules.
Any take of wolves is highly regulated in Oregon and the delisting does not mean additional take is now allowed. Hunters and trappers may not take wolves in Oregon at this time. The Wolf Plan does not allow for general season sport hunting of wolves in any phase of wolf management.
The delisting also does not change the current management of wolf-livestock conflict. In all phases of the Wolf Plan, non-lethal preventive measures are the tools of choice to address wolf-livestock conflict.
Wolves in the East Zone will continue to be managed under Phase 2 rules, which do not change with the delisting. Wolves in the West Zone are managed under the ESA-like Phase 1 rules until their population also reaches four breeding pairs for three consecutive years. West of Hwys 395-78-95, the gray wolf remains listed on the federal ESA and any take of wolves in this area is regulated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
The decision to delist was a vote of confidence in the Wolf Plan and its continued implementation. “I think the Wolf Plan has been unbelievably successful in bringing together diverse interests,” said Commissioner Bruce Buckmaster during Monday’s meeting. “I believe we have wolves because of the Plan and the forbearance of eastern Oregonians in abiding by the plan. It is incumbent on everybody to continue sticking with the plan. We need to keep everybody at the table.”
“The big message that we got today is people want to protect wolves and that Oregonians love their wildlife,” said Commissioner Holly Akenson.
The Commission also asked ODFW to explore options to increase penalties for unlawfully taking a wolf. They will also ask the Oregon State Legislature to change the state’s ESA law to allow for listing and delisting of species in only a portion of the state in the future. “I think you can see by us asking for increased penalties and future regulations that [the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission] cares about wolves,” said Chair Mike Finley, while urging various interest groups to continue to work together.
October 16, 2015–OR3 makes appearance in Cascade Mountains, northern Klamath County
OR3, a radio-collared wolf last located September 2011 near Prineville, has appeared again in the Cascade Mountains of northern Klamath County. OR3 is originally from the Imnaha Wolf Pack and was collared with a VHF radio collar in February 2010. He dispersed from the pack in May 2011.
Unlike GPS collars which automatically provide locations to a computer, VHF collars require wildlife biologists to locate the collar with special telemetry equipment in the field. OR3 was located just a few times since his dispersal, including in the Fossil wildlife management unit in the summer of 2011. At this time, it is expected that his collar is no longer sending out a signal as the time span has exceeded the battery life of the collar.
A private individual captured a picture of a wolf on a trail camera this summer. ODFW confirmed late last week that the photograph was OR3. Little is known about the current status of OR3 but wildlife biologists will attempt to gather more information.
Aug. 3, 2015–Two new Areas of Known Wolf Activity
ODFW has designated two new Areas of Known Wolf Activity (AKWAs). The new areas are a result of two dispersing radio-collared wolves. OR25, originally from the Imnaha Pack, traveled through the Columbia Basin, Southern Blue Mountains, and Northern and Central Cascade Mountains and has been in the Klamath County area (Sprague wildlife management unit) since May. OR30, originally from the Mt. Emily pack, crossed I-84 and has been resident in the Starkey and Ukiah wildlife management units (Union County) since May.
AKWAs are created where and when wolves repeatedly use an area over time and become established. To help minimize potential wolf-livestock conflict, livestock producers are encouraged to use preventive measures within AKWAs. For more information regarding preventative measures.
July 31, 2015–Commission consideration of wolf delisting moved to October, November meetings
The informational briefing and rulemaking for removing gray wolves from the state Endangered Species list have been delayed until the Oct. 9 meeting in Florence and a November meeting tobe held in Salem. These items were originally scheduled for September and October but after consultation with the Chair of the Commission, the decision was made to move the process back due to already full meeting agendas. Commissioners want to provide adequate time for public testimony and discussion during the meetings.
The date for the November meeting will be announced soon on the Commission webpage. Public testimony will be taken at the meetings but can also be emailed to email@example.com Please make sure to include “Comments on Wolf Delisting Proposal” in the subject line of emails.
Photos of OR7's yearlings born in 2014. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
July 7, 2015
A remote camera captured a series of images of Rogue Pack wolf yearlings (born spring 2014) playing in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest on June 24, 2015. While new pups have not yet been seen, wildlife biologists found pup scat in the area, which confirms the Rogue pack has new pups this year. See the sequence on the USFWS webpage or ODFW’s Oregon Wildlife Viewing Facebook page. Images courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
April 14, 2015
ODFW will present its Biological Status Review of Wolves in Oregon to the Fish and Wildlife Commission at a public meeting next Friday, April 24 in Bend. The report is now available (see Exhibit F).
The Wolf Plan calls for initiating a process to delist wolves from the state Endangered Species Act when Oregon reaches the conservation objective of four breeding pairs for three consecutive years in eastern Oregon. This objective was met in 2014. The Commission will use the Biological Status Review to evaluate whether to move forward with a delisting process.
January 13, 2015–New wolf activity in southwest Cascades
ODFW has documented new wolf activity in the southwest Keno Unit (in the southwest Cascades on a mixture of public and private lands).
Evidence of at least one wolf has been collected twice over the last month. This area is in a part of the state where wolves are protected by both the state and federal Endangered Species Act.
Repeated sign of a wolf requires that the agency designate an Area of Known Wolf Activity (AKWA), and ODFW will complete that next week.
The area this new wolf is using lies within the already established AKWA for the Rogue Pack (OR7), but data on OR7 and the Rogue Pack shows no use of this area recently. The Rogue Pack AKWA will soon be adjusted to reflect its current use area.
Little is known of this new wolf (e.g., sex, age, origin, other wolves) and efforts to gather additional data will be made by both ODFW and US Fish and Wildlife Service.
December 17, 2014 – New Area of Known Wolf Activity – Desolation Unit
A new Area of Known Wolf Activity (AKWA) has been designated by ODFW in the northern portion of the Desolation Unit (Grant and Umatilla County). On December 15, 2014 tracks of two wolves were documented by ODFW biologists in this new area. Irregular reports of wolf activity have been received over the past year in this general area of National Forest, and biologists documented two instances of a single wolf earlier in the year. However, AKWAs are created where and when wolves have become established, meaning repeated use of an area over a period of time by wolves and not simply dispersal of wolves.
At this time, ODFW has little data regarding the specifics of this new pair (i.e., sex, breeding status, and specific use area) and additional surveys will be required to get this information.
September 5, 2014 – Genetic results on OR7’s mate and pups
ODFW received University of Idaho’s report on scat samples collected in May and July. The samples were taken from the area being used by wolf OR7, his female mate and pups in the southwest Cascades. As expected, the samples identified OR7’s mate and two of the pups as wolves. The results do not indicate specifically where OR7’s mate was born, but show that she is related to other wolves in NE Oregon (Snake River and Minam packs). The two pup scats also identified the pups as offspring of OR7 and his new mate.
July 17, 2014 – New wolf activity, depredation in Chesnimnus Unit (Wallowa County)
ODFW has confirmed new wolf activity by previously unconfirmed wolves in the Chesnimnus Unit (Wallowa County). The finding was made last night when an investigation confirmed that a domestic calf was killed by wolves in the Cougar Creek Area, on national forest lands (Wallowa Whitman NF) approximately 30 miles north of Enterprise. ODFW had received irregular reports of wolf activity in this area but this is the first recent information showing evidence of resident activity by more than a single wolf.
At least two to three wolves were believed to be in the area where the calf was killed. These wolves are not believed to be part of any previously known wolf pack. ODFW is now working to gather more information on these new wolves, including determination of their reproductive status, and will attempt to radio-collar individual wolves in this group.
June 10, 2014 – New Area of Known Wolf Activity – OR26, Unnamed Pack In Mt Emily Unit
A new Area of Known Wolf Activity has been designated by ODFW in the southern portion of the Mt. Emily Unit in Umatilla County. OR26 is a male wolf which was recently captured by ODFW biologists and fitted with a GPS collar. Initial data from this wolf indicates that he is paired and likely has pups, but further field surveys are needed to confirm. Repeated use of the area over a period of time indicates that wolves have become established and are not simply dispersing wolves. However, ODFW has little data regarding the specifics of this group.
June 7, 2014 – Mt. Emily Pack female collared
ODFW successfully trapped and GPS-collared a yearling female (OR28) of the Mt. Emily Pack. The 72-pound black wolf was released in excellent condition and is the first radio-collared wolf in this pack. The Mt Emily Pack was first discovered in 2013 and is comprised of four known adult wolves. The GPS collar will allow better understanding of the pack’s use area. This marks the 28th radio-collared wolf in Oregon, and is the first wolf collared from this pack.
Two of wolf OR7’s pups peek out from a log on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest, June 2, 2014. Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
June 4, 2014 – Pups for wolf OR7
Wolf OR7 and a mate have produced offspring in southwest Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, wildlife biologists confirmed this week. In early May, biologists suspected that OR7, originally from northeast Oregon, had a mate in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest when remote cameras captured several images of what appeared to be a black female wolf in the same area. More information
May 12, 2014–Wolf OR7 may have found a mate
OR7, a wolf originally from northeast Oregon, may have found a mate in southwest Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. More information
March 11, 2014
The final 2013 Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Annual Report is available online. It includes the 2013 update for Oregon’s Wolf Population. ODFW documented a minimum of 64 wolves in 8 packs, including 4 breeding pairs for 2013 (compared to 46 wolves in 6 packs with 6 breeding pairs in 2012).
A research section has been added to the wolf webpages. The page is based on the Wolf Literature Review and Research Recommendations presented to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in March 2013. ODFW has also initiated a partnership with Oregon State University to provide a Ph. D. student to study wolf-cougar interactions and wolf predation rates on northeastern Oregon ungulates. This project is expected to be completed in 2018.
Finally, additional wolf photos from 2013 and 2014 have been added to the wolf photo gallery.
February 4, 2014–New Area of Known Wolf Activity – Unnamed Wolves in Catherine Creek and Keating Units
A new Area of Known Wolf Activity has been designated by ODFW in the southern Catherine Creek Unit and the northern Keating Unit. Tracks of five wolves were first documented by ODFW in late December in the Medical Springs area, after the department followed up a track report from an area landowner. Since December, the group’s tracks were relocated three times, including last week in northern Baker County. The repeated use of the area over a period of time indicates that wolves have become established and are not simply dispersing wolves. However, ODFW has little data regarding the specifics of this group (e.g. origin, reproductive status, homerange). Future monitoring efforts will focus on more location data and radio-collaring.
ODFW Collars OR4 – Again
The breeding male of the Imnaha pack (OR4) was aerially darted and radio-collared by ODFW on Feb. 1, 2014. The wolf’s previous GPS collar quit functioning in late December and this was the first time the wolf was in an area where he could be safely darted. The new GPS collar is the fourth applied to this particular wolf. While ODFW would not normally re-collar an individual wolf so many times, this particular wolf’s collar has been helpful with managing depredation in the area. “ODFW has plenty of location information about the Imnaha pack, but this wolf is important to continue to track in order to assist area livestock producers facing depredation,” said Russ Morgan, ODFW wolf coordinator.
A photo of an adult Snake River Pack wolf taken on Dec 17, 2013. -Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
October 28, 2013–Young Umatilla River wolves collared after incidental capture
ODFW biologists radio-collared and released two young wolves in a forested area east of Weston, Ore. on Oct. 26.
The 55-pound male and a 50-pound female are both young-of-the-year members of the Umatilla River Pack in Umatilla County.
Both wolves were incidentally trapped on private land by a licensed trapper who was intending to trap coyotes. They were trapped at the same time in two separate foot-hold traps in close proximity. The trapper followed regulations and immediately reported the situation.
ODFW biologists were able to quickly respond and safely collar and release the wolves. The two wolves are the third and fourth incidental captures recorded in Oregon. In the two previous incidental captures, the trappers also reported the incidents and the wolves were safely released.
The Umatilla River wolves were fitted with lighter-weight GPS collars ideal for younger wolves. These types of collars collect fewer locations than regular GPS collars, but this pack already has a GPS-collared adult providing location data. The GPS collars on these younger wolves should prove most useful when the wolves disperse.
October 16, 2013
ODFW has confirmed a wolf depredation on a calf by the Snake River wolf pack (Wallowa County, Oregon), the first confirmed depredation by this pack.
September 6, 2013–Change to Umatilla River Qualifying Incident
After further review, ODFW has rescinded the decision to qualify the Aug. 23, 2013 confirmed depredation by the Umatilla River pack as a Qualifying Incident under new wolf management rules (OAR 635-110-0010(8)(a-c).
Under the new rules, ODFW needs to develop and post a Conflict Deterrence Plan within 14 days of the first depredation by a pack. In this case, the Umatilla River Pack Conflict Deterrence Plan did not meet the 14-day deadline. The decision does not change the original confirmation that a wolf or wolves were the cause of death of the goat in this instance.
This change reduces the number of Qualifying Incidents for the Umatilla River Pack from two to one. ODFW only considers lethal control for depredating wolves when there are four Qualifying Incidents within a six-month time period.
August 30, 2013–Conflict Deterrence Plan released for Umatilla River Pack
ODFW has posted the Conflict Deterrence Plan for the Umatilla River Pack. ODFW had many discussions with livestock producers in the Umatilla River Pack area about the appropriate non-lethal measures to minimize conflict with wolves. These discussions led to development of this plan and its provisions are being implemented by many producers already.
Under new wolf management rules, ODFW and livestock producers are required to develop and publicly disclose Conflict Deterrence Plans in Areas of Depredating Wolves. The Conflict Deterrence Plan could be updated from time to time based on changing conditions, pack behavior, knowledge about wolf management and comments by landowners, livestock producers and other relevant interests. To be notified of changes to the Conflict Deterrence Plan, subscribe to receive changes to the Wolf-Livestock section.
The Umatilla River pack depredation is a “qualifying incident” (see report), meaning the landowner was using appropriate preventative measures to minimize wolf-livestock conflict. (ODFW has rescinded decision to qualify Aug. 23 incident; see Sept. 6 entry above for more information.) ODFW is waiting on information from the livestock producers to determine if the two confirmed Imnaha Pack depredations (from 8/21 and 8/22) are qualifying incidents.
August 23, 2013–Depredation by the Imnaha wolf pack
ODFW is working to determine if the depredation counts as a “qualifying incident” toward a lethal control decision. (For a depredation to qualify, the affected landowner must have been using at least one preventive measure and removed all reasonably accessible unnatural attractants on his/her property at least seven days prior to the incident.) If this depredation qualifies, it will be the third qualifying depredation within the past six months.
Under new rules agreed to in a settlement with conservation groups and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association earlier this year, ODFW does not consider lethal control before there are at least four qualifying incidents in a six-month time frame.
August 12, 2013–2nd Wenaha wolf has died from parvovirus
Lab results show that a dead Wenaha Pack wolf pup recently found had died as a result of parvovirus. The carcass of the pup was discovered by ODFW on July 30th while staff was conducting routine surveys. This marks the second wolf death attributed to parvovirus in Oregon (the first was a 55-pound female yearling, also from the Wenaha pack, discovered in May 2013). Other apparently healthy pups were observed when the carcass of the pup was found on July 30, so the extent of the disease within this pack is unknown.
Parvovirus outbreaks have been documented in wolf populations throughout the western United States. In some areas parvovirus has caused short term declines in wolf populations by reducing the number of surviving pups. Long-term effects of the disease are less understood, but are generally not expected to threaten overall conservation of the species (though it may reduce the rate of population growth). ODFW staff will continue to monitor survival of the remaining pups as the year progresses.
Remote camera photo from July 21, 2013, documenting three pups in the newly formed Mt Emily pack. -Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
July 30, 2013–Mt Emily wolves, other wolf packs have pups
ODFW has documented that the two wolves discovered earlier this year in the Mt Emily Unit have reproduced. Monitoring cameras documented three pups by this pair (photo), though there could be more. The pair was first found in April 2013 in Union County in the Mt Emily Unit northwest of Summerville, Ore.
ODFW has now confirmed reproduction in seven known packs this year (Imnaha, Minam, Mt Emily, Snake River, Umatilla River, Walla Walla, and Wenaha), though the exact number of pups is not yet known in all of the packs.
July 19, 2013
On Friday July 12, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission passed new Oregon Administrative Rules to manage wolves in Oregon. The rules reflect the outcome of negotiations between Oregon Wild, Cascadia Wildlands, the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and ODFW after the settlement of a lawsuit. View the entire new rule.
Changes have been made to the ODFW wolf webpage to inform livestock producers and interested parties about the rule changes and how they affect the use of non-lethal measures to reduce livestock depredation. The Wolves and Livestock section enables individuals to sign up for emails to keep them current on changes to wolf activity maps, conflict deterrence plans and other issues concerning wolf-livestock interactions.
May 30, 2013–Wolf OR19 died from complications of canine parvovirus
Preliminary laboratory results, conducted at Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Lab, indicate that OR19, the wolf found dead by ODFW biologists on May 19, died of complications of canine parvovirus. The highly contagious and often fatal disease is common among domestic dogs, and can spill over into wild canids such as coyotes, foxes, and wolves. Domestic dogs are normally vaccinated for the disease but wild animals are not. Parvovirus has been documented in wild canids in other areas of the country and most commonly occurs in pups. It is unknown at this time if other wolves in Oregon are affected with the virus, but biologists will continue to monitor for signs of the disease throughout the summer.
This is the first documented case of parvovirus in Oregon wolves, though outbreaks have been well documented in wolf populations throughout the western United States. In some areas it has caused short term declines in wolf populations by reducing the number of surviving pups. Long-term effects are less understood, but are generally not expected to threaten overall conservation of the species (though it may reduce the rate of population growth).
May 28, 2013 –Settlement of Oregon Court of Appeals case
In the fall of 2011, ODFW’s authority to take (lethally remove) wolves under the State Endangered Species Act was challenged by a temporary restraining order filed in the Oregon Court of Appeals by Cascadia Wildlands, Oregon Wild and the Center for Biological Diversity.
Over the past year, these three organizations, ODFW and the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association have been in talks to try to settle the case outside of Court. The Center for Biological Diversity withdrew from these negotiations this past winter.
Last week, the remaining parties agreed in principle to a combination of rule changes and legislation that once enacted, will moot the court case. The key changes to the current rules regarding lethal control of wolves are:
Before ODFW can use lethal control against wolves, it must confirm four qualifying incidents within a six-month time frame (previously it was two depredation incidents and no specific timeframe).
Requires the development and public disclosure of wolf-livestock conflict deterrence plans that identify non-lethal measures for implementation by landowners.
Requires that these non-lethal measures be implemented prior to a depredation for the depredation incident to count towards lethal control.
Puts in rule that any ODFW lethal control decision is valid for 45-days (previously the timeframe for an ODFW lethal control decision was not standardized in rule; 45 days is consistent with what other western states have implemented).
The new temporary rules are online here http://www.dfw.state.or.us/OARs/110.pdf The Fish and Wildlife Commission will be asked to ratify these rules at their June 7 meeting in Tigard and make them permanent at their July meeting. “We are pleased the parties were able to come to an agreement,” said Ron Anglin, ODFW wildlife division administrator. “We look forward to finalizing both the rules and the legislation so the case can be fully settled and we can move forward on wolf conservation and management.”
OR4, breeding male of the Imnaha Pack, photographed by a remote camera on May 18, 2013. -Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
May 22, 2013–Minam Pack female collared
On May 16, 2013 ODFW successfully trapped and GPS-collared an adult breeding female of the Minam Pack. The 81-pound wolf was in excellent condition and is the first radio-collared wolf in this pack. The Minam Pack was first discovered in 2012 and early information about the pack suggested that it occurred mostly within the Eagle Cap Wilderness. Managers expect that the GPS collar will allow better understanding of the pack’s use areas. This marks the 20th radio-collared wolf in Oregon.
Confirmed depredations by Imnaha pack
On May 15, 2013 a yearling cow was confirmed by ODFW (pdf) to have been killed by wolves of the Imnaha pack. Evidence of at least two wolves was found at the site. In addition, GPS locations from OR4’s radio-collar confirmed that OR4 was present. On May 10, 2013 ODFW also confirmed (pdf) that a small calf in the same general area had received wolf bite injuries on a hind leg. The calf was expected to survive. These are the third and fourth confirmed wolf depredation incidents by the Imnaha Pack in 2013.
Loss of collared Wenaha female
On May 11, 2013 a 55-pound yearling female wolf (OR19) from the Wenaha pack was trapped and released with a GPS radio-collar. She was caught in the Sled Springs unit where some members of the Wenaha pack have been located for more than a month. The capture went well and the wolf appeared healthy and unharmed. Following the capture, the movement data from the wolf appeared normal. However, late on May 17 the collar sent out a mortality message – a message which indicates the collar had been stationary for an extended period of time. Radio collar mortality signals do not always mean mortality, but on Sunday May 19 ODFW investigated the area and found that the wolf had died. The cause of death is unknown, but we do not suspect foul play at this time. Even so, the animal is being independently examined in an effort to learn more of the cause of death.
New pair of wolves in Mt Emily Unit
A new pair of wolves was discovered in the eastern portion of the Mt Emily Unit (Union County) in early April 2013. Field surveys which immediately followed, combined with information shared by area landowners showed that the pair – probably a male and female – visited several private land areas near the Grande Ronde Valley. More recently, however, evidence (tracks) has shown that the pair may have moved to higher elevation forest areas. Continued survey efforts will be conducted to gather more information on the pair.
Sheep depredation in northern Umatilla County
On May 21, ODFW confirmed (pdf) that 6 sheep were depredated by wolves which resulted in four dead (3 lambs, 1 ewe), one injured (ram), and one missing (lamb). Wolf tracks were found in the pasture of the dead sheep, and radio-collar data showed that at least one wolf of the Umatilla River Pack was in the area on the night of the depredation. Evidence gathered showed a similar pattern of attack as the depredation events in 2012 in this same general area.
March 18, 2013–Snake River Pack wolves collared
On March 14, ODFW biologists collared and released two wolves from the Snake River pack in a helicopter capture operation. One of them (OR15) had been collared last August as a pup; biologists replaced his VHF collar with a GPS collar. The other wolf, OR18, is a year older than OR15 and was given a GPS collar also. These collars will enable biologists to better track this pack in a remote part of Oregon.
ODFW does not post daily location information on OR7 or any GPS-collared wolf. Wolves throughout Oregon are protected by the state Endangered Species Act. West of Hwys 395-78-95, wolves are also protected by the federal ESA.
OR7 may cross back into California and use areas in both states. ODFW will continue to monitor his location and coordinate with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and California Fish and Game.
Minam Wolf -Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
February 28, 2013–New Imnaha Pack collar; Minam/Upper Minam River determined to be same pack
On Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013 ODFW biologists radio-collared a new Imnaha Pack wolf (OR17). The 76-pound young female wolf was captured inadvertently by a local trapper who immediately notified ODFW when he discovered the wolf. ODFW was able to collar and then safely release the wolf in good condition.
Under Oregon Furbearer Regulations, trappers should contact ODFW immediately if a wolf or other endangered animal is trapped. The trapper did exactly what he was supposed to do in this case.
ODFW has recently added another breeding pair to its 2012 population estimate. Recent winter (February) surveys revealed that the Minam pack has two pups. Also, new genetic evidence from scats collected in January indicate that the Minam and Upper Minam River wolves are from the same pack, hereafter referred to as the Minam Pack. Based on this new information, ODFW is revising its earlier estimate of the Oregon wolf population to six known packs (all breeding pairs) and a total of 46 wolves.
Oregon’s minimum wolf count for 2012 is 53 wolves, including seven packs and at least five breeding pairs. (A pack is four wolves that travel together in winter. A breeding pair is two adult wolves that produce at least two pups that survive through Dec. 31 of the year of their birth.) More information
The Oregon wolf population is determined each winter and is based on wolves that staff has verified through direct evidence (sightings, tracks, remote camera footage). The actual number of wolves in Oregon is likely greater than this minimum estimate, and the 2012 estimate may change as ODFW gains additional information over the winter.
December 19, 2012
On December 19th the yearling wolf OR16, which had recently dispersed from the Walla Walla pack, crossed the Snake River into Idaho. The 85 pound male was captured north of Elgin, Oregon on November 1 and was fitted with a GPS collar which allowed managers to quickly determine that the young wolf was part of the Walla Walla pack in northern Umatilla County. Dispersal of young wolves away from their natal pack into new areas is a normal part of wolf ecology and this is the second radio-collared wolf to disperse from Oregon into Idaho.
November 16, 2012–OR16 belongs to Walla Walla Pack
Initial data from OR16 (radio-collared on 11/1/2012) shows that he is a Walla Walla pack wolf. Satellite downloads show him travelling with OR10, another yearling from the Walla Walla pack.
DNA results for Wenaha samples
DNA analysis of wolf scats in the Wenaha pack territory confirms that OR12 is the breeding male of the Wenaha pack in 2012. OR12 is the first wolf confirmed to have been born into one pack in Oregon (Imnaha), then dispersed and successfully bred in a different Oregon pack.
OR16 -Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
November 2, 2012–OR16 radio-collared in Union County
On Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012 ODFW biologists radio-collared a new wolf (OR16) in the Wenaha Unit of Northeast Oregon (Union County). The 85-pound yearling male was captured north of Elgin in an area that wolves were not previously known to occur. The wolf was captured incidentally by USDA APHIS-Wildlife Services personnel. Each year, ODFW issues an Incidental Take Permit to Wildlife Services which contains provisions to minimize the risk of incidental captures and to protect wolves if incidentally captured. The permit requires close coordination between the two agencies and in this situation the result was a successfully collared wolf released in excellent health. It is unknown at this time if the wolf is part of any of the three known nearby packs (Wenaha, Walla Walla and Umatilla River) or if it represents new wolf activity. Biologists expect that the new GPS collar will soon provide that answer.
On Sunday, Oct. 14, 2012 ODFW biologists re-captured OR10 from the Walla Walla Pack. The yearling female wolf weighed 73 lbs and was in excellent condition. She had been previously captured as a pup in October of 2011 and was fitted with a VHF telemetry collar at that time. On this capture her telemetry collar was replaced with a GPS collar which will assist ODFW in gathering much needed location data on this pack.
September 20, 2012–More wolf depredation
ODFW recently investigated two reported wolf depredations in northeast Oregon. One was confirmed as a wolf and one was determined a “probable wolf”.
September 14, 2012–Wolf depredation investigations
ODFW investigated two reported wolf depredations earlier this week—one in Wallowa, one in Union County. The one in Wallowa County was found to be a “probable” wolf depredation while the one in Union County was determined “possible/unknown.”
ODFW confirmed pups for the Walla Walla Pack on Friday, Sept. 7 when ODFW monitoring cameras documented two black pups travelling with the pack in the upper Walla Walla River drainage. Though reproduction was expected for this pack, it had not been confirmed until Friday. The two radio-collared yearlings (OR10 and OR11) were also documented to still be with the pack. This brings the minimum known size of the Walla Walla pack to 10 wolves (8 adults, 2 pups). It also brings the known number of reproducing wolf packs in NE Oregon to six.
ODFW also recently confirmed additional livestock losses by the Imnaha wolf pack. Details at the links below:
A new wolf pack was discovered by ODFW wolf program staff in northeast Oregon on Aug. 25 when a pair of gray-colored adult wolves with five gray pups was observed in the Upper Minam River drainage. ODFW has received irregular wolf reports in the general larger area over the past several years. ODFW had been monitoring wolf activity in the Lower Minam River area since a photo of a black lactating female was taken on June 4. However, these new wolves appear to be unrelated to the lactating female as they were all gray-colored. The home range of these newly discovered wolves is unknown at this time, but represents the fifth litter of pups documented in 2012.
Umatilla River wolf pups -Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
August 15, 2012 – Umatilla River wolves
Pictures taken Aug. 2, 2012 from an ODFW remote camera show that there are at least two wolf pups with the Umatilla River pair. With four individuals in the group, it is now considered a pack.
August 9, 2012 – Wenaha Pack pup count
ODFW surveyed the Wenaha pack on Aug 9, 2012 and was able to document seven pups for the pack.
Second wolf in Sled Springs Unit
A second wolf (black) has been confirmed by ODFW in the Sled Springs unit. Surveys will continue in this area and hunter reports may help us learn more about local wolf activity as the fall progresses.
July 20, 2012 – Photo captured of wolf in Sled Springs Unit
Sled Springs Wolf -Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
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.
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.
July 08, 2012 – 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)
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.
July 03, 2012 – ODFW successfully captured and radio-collared a wolf of the Snake River Pack
ODFW successfully captured and radio-collared a wolf of the Snake River Pack yesterday (Aug. 2, 2012), the first collar for this pack. The 49-lb male pup was in excellent condition and was of a size which could easily handle the lightweight VHF collar. The collar will allow ODFW to monitor the pack in this remote portion of Oregon.
Snake River Wolf Pack Howling
-Video by ODFW-
July 01, 2012 – 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.
July 27, 2012 – Depredation by Imnaha Pack
Yesterday evening, ODFW investigated a severely injured calf on a national forestland grazing allotment in the Morgan Butte area (Wallowa County) and has confirmed it as a wolf depredation (Imnaha Pack). The cattle in this forested area had been moved earlier yesterday and the calf was believed to have been attacked during the daytime following that move. This morning the calf is alive but is not expected to survive due to its injuries. An investigation summary will be posted next week.
June 27, 2012 – New wolf activity (lactating female) in Eagle Cap Wilderness
On June 25, ODFW received a trail-cam photograph of a lactating female wolf in the Eagle Cap Wilderness. The image was captured on June 4 on a camera placed by a research biologist as part of another wildlife research project. The wolf was not in an area of known wolf activity (e.g. is not believed to be part of a known wolf pack). The photo clearly shows that reproduction has occurred, but the current location and number of wolves in this area is unknown at this time. ODFW will survey the area to try and gather additional information.
OR14 -Oregon Fish and Wildlife-
June 20, 2012 – OR14 GPS collared
OR14, a wolf using the northern Mt Emily wildlife management unit, was GPS collared by ODFW in the Weston Mountain area north of the Umatilla River on June 20. The gray-colored male wolf weighed 90 pounds and was estimated to be at least 6 years old. The collared wolf is believed to be responsible for the early May depredations of sheep in the area. The new collar will allow ODFW to better understand his movements and use additional tools to help prevent further depredation. It will also help ODFW communicate with area livestock producers about his whereabouts. OR14 is one of two known adult wolves in the area, and though reproduction is suspected, ODFW has not yet confirmed pups for these wolves.
June 10, 2012 – Wenaha wolf OR13 collared
ODFW trapped OR-13, a 2-year-old wolf of the Wenaha pack, and fitted her with a GPS radio-collar on June 10. The black female weighed 85 pounds and was captured in the Wenaha Wildlife Management Unit. She was previously caught as a pup in August 2010, but at the time was too small for a radio collar.
May 30, 2012 – Imnaha, Wenaha packs have pups
Biologists observed at least four pups in the Wenaha pack on May 30. In June, reproduction was also confirmed in the Imnaha pack, with a minimum of four pups observed.
ODFW changed from a monthly reporting format to Wolf Program Updates.