Oregon's famous gray wolf has at least 3 pups
Wildlife cameras have captured photos of 3 different pups, and biologists suspect there could be more.
Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 11:26 AM
New photos of the wandering wolf known as OR-7 that has roamed California and Oregon for several years, confirm that he and his mate are raising at least three pups.
A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service camera snapped photos of two pups in Oregon's Cascade Mountains in early June, but biologists suspected there were more as wolf litters typically number four to six pups.
In July 12, the camera captured more images of two gray pups, as well as a darker pup.
The Fish and Wildlife Service also released new images of OR-7's mate. However, they're still unsure where she came from.
Unlike OR-7, she's not radio-collared and was not previously known to wildlife officials.
OR-7's pups mark the first known reproduction of gray wolves in the Cascades since the mid-1940s.
"This is very exciting news," State Supervisor of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office Paul Henson said in a news release. "It continues to illustrate that gray wolves are being recovered."
Oregon wolves are protected by the state Endangered Species Act, and wolves in some areas are also protected by the federal Endangered Species Act.
There were 64 known wolves in the state at the end of 2013.
OR-7 was born in northeast Oregon in 2009 and equipped with a radio collar in 2011.
He left his pack in September of that year and has traveled thousands of miles through Oregon and into northern California and Oregon, becoming the first known wolf in the state since 1924.
The presence of the wolves near the state border makes it likely the pups could eventually establish their own families in California.
Biologists plan to attach radio collars to OR-7's mate and their pups, but they'll wait until fall when the pups are older.
"They seem to be doing good, and they are staying out of trouble," USFW biologist John Stephenson told The Sacramento Bee. "There are livestock up there and there hasn't been any problems with attacks on livestock, so we're happy about that. It seems like things are going along good."
Check out some photos of OR-7 and his family below.
Related on MNN: