Breaking! Oregon Wolf OR-7’s Pack Is Growing As He Fathers More Pups For The 5th Consecutive Year; This Reinforces Critical Need For Their Federal Protection
In this remote camera photo taken May 3, 2014, and provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the wolf OR-7 stands on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest in southwest Oregon’s Cascade Mountains. Photo from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Wildlife officials announced late Tuesday that Oregon wolf OR-7 has fathered a fifth litter of pups in the Rogue-Siskiyou National Forest.
Video of this year’s pups, three gray-colored youngsters playing in the forest, was captured on a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service trail camera in early July and was just released by the federal agency.
According to a statement, OR-7 made international headlines when he traveled across Oregon and entered California in late 2011, becoming the first confirmed wild wolf in the Golden State in 87 years. Three years later, after returning to Oregon, OR-7 mated with another wolf and had pups, officially forming the Rogue pack.
Each year since then, the pair has successfully reproduced. At least three of their offspring have also traveled into California. They include one that became the breeding male of California’s only known existing pack, the Lassen pack, and two females, including one who almost reached Lake Tahoe.
“We’re delighted OR-7 is on his fifth successful litter of healthy, bouncing wolf puppies,” said Amaroq Weiss, West Coast wolf advocate at the Center for Biological Diversity. “OR-7 traveled 4,000 miles to find a mate and start a family. But this important recovery can only continue if we keep protecting wolves in Oregon and California and across the United States.”
OR-7, was named by wildlife biologists because he was the seventh wolf captured and radio-collared in Oregon. Establishing the first wolf pack in western Oregon in more than 60 years. In the past year, two additional wolves have been confirmed traveling together in part of Mt. Hood National Forest in Wasco County.
Despite the gains, the state’s historic persecution of wolves continues. They once roamed statewide but were killed off to appease agricultural interests. Sadly, in southwestern Oregon, several wolves have been confirmed to have met tragic fates.
The Silver Lake pack briefly established territory in Lake County but disappeared after the breeding female was illegally killed in 2016. In 2017, two additional wolves were found illegally killed in neighboring Klamath County.
“Wolves started recovering in West Coast states only because they were protected, but once state protections were removed in Oregon, incidents of illegal wolf killing greatly increased,” said Weiss. “With the Fish and Wildlife Service poised to remove federal safeguards for wolves, we could see a tremendous setback for further recovery, and OR-7’s wondrous legacy could come to an end.”
Oregon’s first pack was confirmed in 2008, in the northeastern part of the state, and a year later, OR-7 was born into that pack’s second litter.
Oregon’s wolf population has increased but is still significantly lower than what the state can support. A scientific analysis determined that Oregon can support as many as 1,400 wolves.
Sadly, only 124 wolves have been observed there, and the state Fish and Wildlife Commission stripped wolves of state protection in 2015.
Recently, the Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it is considering taking Endangered Species Act protection away from wolves across most of the lower 48 states including; Oregon, Washington, and California, where wolf recovery is in its infancy.