Wolf OR-7 News Roundup: New GPS Tracking Collar, Genetic Test Results, & Pack Designation

New information about Wolf OR-7 and his growing family of wolves have continued to create headlines throughout the end of this summer. Here’s a roundup of recent articles and updates as we prepare for autumn and the coming winter.

New GPS Tracking Collar for Wolf OR-7 or mate

Black female wolf. Photo: USFWS

Black female wolf. Photo: USFWS

In late August it was announced that federal biologists would attempt to use leg-hold traps to collar Wolf OR-7 or the female mate to provide a new GPS tracking collar to the pair. Currently, Wolf OR-7’s GPS tracking collar is the longest operational collar distributed by ODFW, but the batteries are expected to fail in the coming cold winter months. Many people had voiced opinions that tracking collar for Wolf OR-7 should be replaced so the popular interest in Wolf OR-7 could continue, but wildlife managers did not show interest in re-collaring Wolf OR-7 as a bachelor. Their decision to collar, or not collar, wolves within Oregon are directed by the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan which prioritizes breeding wolves.

From a September 5, 2014 OregonLive article,

The biologists hope to trap one of the adults to track the pack as part of their wildlife management program. There are grazing allotments in the area and could be livestock kills. They’ll also collar one of the offspring if they catch one but the pups are likely to travel as well — just as their parents did — to find territory and a pack of their own.

Further Reading

 

Pups of Wolf OR-7 and mate. Photo: USFWS.

Two wolf pups. Photo: USFWS.

Pups confirmed as wolves

Genetic testing on scat samples collected from Wolf OR-7’s pups confirmed the pups and female mate to be wolves. Two of the wolf pups are visible in the photo (right), but there have been three wolf pups confirmed and more suspected. From a September 5, 2014 Press Release by ODFW,

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.

A continued wait for a pack designation

Wolf OR-7, the female mate, and pups do not qualify as a pack as of yet and therefore have not received a pack name.

From a August 24, 2014 article in MailTribune,

Right now, OR-7 and his family are considered a group of wolves, Dennehy says. The definition for a pack is four or more wolves traveling together in winter, she says.

They will not be considered an official breeding pair until at least two of the new pups survives through December.

“Often we don’t make those distinctions until winter,” she says.