Oregon wolf population grows modestly in 2013

The Oregon wolf population totals at least 64 wolves at the end of 2013-

Oregon is perhaps the state with wolves that treats them the best. An official wolf count began in 2009 when 14 wolves were detected. Since then it has grown steadily though more slowly than did wolves in neighboring Idaho.

At the end of 2013, the minimum number of wolves was determined to be 64, up from 48 the previous year.  In 2013 six breeding pairs of wolves were found, but in 2013 that fell to four.  All the wolves were in extreme NE Oregon. The lone exception is famous wolf OR-7, named “Journey” by many. He lives in SW Oregon’s Cascade Mountains, sometimes till ranging southward down into California.

The packs are named Imnaha, Wenaha, Walla Walla, Umatilla River, Snake River, Mt Emily, Minam, and  “New Pack in Catherine Cr / Keating.” Snake River, Umatilla River, Minam and Walla Walla are the packs with breeding pairs. Minam is the largest pack with 12 wolves. In 2012 the Wenaha Pack was the largest with eleven wolves. This year Minam dropped to nine,  and were not considered to be a pack with a breeding pair of wolves.

There were two new packs detected in 2013 — probably five wolves in the “Catherine Cr/Keating Units.” This is near Medical Springs on the west side of the Wallowa Mountains.  Four wolves were detected northwest of LaGrande, Oregon and named the Mt. Emily Pack.  Mt. Emily is a pair of wolves that had 3 pups last spring. Two pups survived the year.  All of the packs live in the part of the state where the federal government delisted wolves but they still have Oregon state endangered species status. Only OR-7 is in the part of Oregon where the federal government still maintains endangered species status for the gray wolf.

Most of the wolf packs are genetically related, but the Walla Walla Pack is unique, not related to the other packs.

The scattered information released on the Oregon wolves shows that those captured and weighed were all somewhat small — less than 100 pounds.

By On February 26, 2014

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